The Fifth Year

It was as if I was present in someone else’s news. Looking down on a scene of someone else’s life.

A whisper here, a knowing look there, then all of the sudden the room seems to shift… ever so… off kilter.  As the air thickens, it feels as if you have to push it aside to move in any direction. At the nurse’s desk heads subtly turn to catch a glimpse of the person too young for the diagnosis, the mother in mid-stride, the wife with plans, the artist with deadlines, the woman who came in with a backache… and left with cancer.  I catch an eye, and immediately wish I hadn’t.  Sad eyes full of knowing. Fear begins to creep in underfoot. Wait! Wait! I want to say. But there is no voice.  After all, this isn’t really my life… is it?

“Sometimes life isn’t easy,” one nurse says as she draws yet more blood.

“But I was fine before I got here,” I say.  I swear.  A weak laugh.

That was five years ago. This month. I have now lived to The Fifth Year.  That magical year when your file is quietly moved one location to another. When the scans finally stop. When the battle is declared settled, and a victor is named. When your future is handed back to you with no strings attached. The year when the oncologist pulls out the “cured” stamp and with it, inks your forehead.

“If you insist,” he’ll say.

“I do,” I’ll reply, and wonder what else the stamp could possibly be for.

I have learned much through this cancer experience.  I have learned about the sort of things that require more from you than you think you have. About things that will make you reevaluate what you hold most dear. About things that will define what you truly believe.  And about things that apply not only to dealing with cancer as it turns out, but to life challenges of all kinds.  I am still learning.  It is still affecting me. The battle may be over, and yes, there is plunder… but yes, there is also collateral damage. These are the things of this blog.

One thing I know. When you find yourself in a room where all the air has vanished, where there is enough fear to fill every nook and cranny, and you are standing with your back to the wall… know this.  There is not enough space in that room for both fear and hope.

I choose hope.

So can you.

©Lynnea Washburn

All portions of this blog are ©Lynnea Washburn.  All rights reserved.


2 Responses

  1. Fantastic Lynnea. What a great way to start the New Year and your Fifth year. I know the feeling.

    And I look forward to reading more.


  2. Thank you Meg. That means a lot coming from you!

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