The worst part of my journey was not long. The hardest part of my battle- compared to the battle of others- not much of a battle at all. And yet, that one segment of my life has changed me forever. My bout with cancer does not control my life, for currently I am healthy with no signs of my enemy. It did however effect how I perceive things.Before cancer I was skating along, going about this business of living. My family and I were going to country music concerts, we would travel to some degree and we had very little worries about money. My husband was a workaholic who put in many over time hours, the bills were paid and the entertainment options were many. My eyes were only on the things we could do or the things we could have. I rushed about from adventure to adventure, work to home to store and back again without taking time to really see or experience.
Before cancer I had blinders on to many things. Having breast cancer opened my eyes in many ways. I slowed down.
During the time of my cancer fight my husband found himself unexpectedly out of work. I found myself fighting cancer and helping him find another job. My days entailed taking care of all the things work related, interrupted by things cancer related and then home to take care of home and my husbands looking for work related needs. He is less computer literate than I am so he would do the phone calls and in person things and I would help him by doing the searches and filling out the online applications. This made for long tiring days. He was on his way for a job orientation the day I found out I had cancer. The day I had my surgery he was on his way to have his DOT physical for his CDL license. But through it all, even when he wasn't able to be there, I wasn't alone. I had my faith and my friends always near.
Once my surgery was out of the way the treatments began. I was extremely blessed in that I did not need chemotherapy. I did however go through six weeks of radiation treatments. Radiation may help burn away the cancer, but it also for me anyway burned away any energy that I possessed. Some days I felt as if I were slogging through a bog of thick peanut butter. My feet nearly impossible to lift to take another step, and yet I made it. One thing that amazed my husband, was that I would go in to work fifteen minutes early, leave fifteen minutes early to go for the treatments and then once I got home I would take to the woods for my walk. A nice, slow, even stroll just me, my camera and my Savior walking with me, showing me new things every day that I would ordinarily not see. There were flowers and plants growing and blooming along the path that I had never realized were there. I found insects that amazed me in their appearance. There was always- always something new and different to find even though I walked along the same route every time. I did this just in case something happened my family would know where to look for me. These walks brought me wonder, brought me calming peace, brought me to understand that there is a special beauty to this place that we will see, if we slow down and bother to actually look for it.
I was reminded that as most photographers know, lighting matters, time of day matters. The bright sunlight of day washes out colors. The bright glare of living life in the fast lane hides many things. (and you don't have to be among the super wealthy to live life in the fast lane. The fast lane is the place where you are simply too busy to experience life to its fullest beauty) When you see life in the early morning or late afternoon light.. colors are different. when you see life through the clouds, you see the full richness of the colors. When the clouds, or snow covering mute many of life's busy sounds, you can hear the real music of the land. You can hear the beauty of the quiet moments.
There have been times when I was walking that I would come across wildlife. I have been watched by the deer, I have been watched by owl and raccoons as I have stood and quietly watched them. I have photographed turtles, tree frogs and praying mantis, wondering at their simple beauty. Squirrel are abundant here and are hilarious to watch and a challenge to photograph unless you run across the young curious ones who wonder about the crazy human that flashes that bright light..
Before cancer I was in such a hurry.
Even though while I was going through all that my fight entailed, I never asked "why me" maybe, just maybe it was to slow me down so that I would see, feel, experience and understand the gifts that are given. Maybe, just maybe, it was so that I could share what I find so that others will slow down and find the gifts that are waiting for them.
After cancer...I am so much more content..for I know I am blessed.