By my rough calculations, I’m about 2 months behind my normal pace of life. Surgery, recovery, new job, nausea, fatigue, multiple doctors, chemo aside, I guess that’s pretty good. Yesterday, I went shopping in San Marcos with friends. After about three hours, I was exhausted. It was very hot and my stamina is low. I felt really terrible about having to end our excursion to the point that I wished I hadn’t gone. My MD said it will take a year for me to get back to my normal level of activity. I cannot even fathom that thought so I keep trying to do things I use to do and failing miserably. I don’t look sick at all so it throws people when I say “I can’t.” Believe me, it’s harder to say than it is to hear. This experience has been most humbling. A decade ago I learned to say “No, I can’t right now.” but now, “I can’t” means that I cannot do it at all. Not for weeks, or months, or maybe ever…But here’s what I can do. I can love unconditionally. I can get back to my volunteer work with as much passion if not as much time. I can keep giving my day job the best of my mind which, thankfully, is my primary duty as I am no longer in clinical practice. And I can smile, smile, smile. Some days my face is so swollen I can’t see the dimples that have been in my family for generations. My 2 month old grandson even has them. The first time it happened I was stunned. After a few days of prescription related water retention, I forgot my own smile. Imagine that. Yet, there are surely people in Syria and Afghanistan who have the same experience. My smile is hidden by an illness I fight with all my might every day. Theirs is buried in pain from a fight they didn’t start and cannot win. With all the accumulated resources and wealth of the world, none of us should be suffering. But science will find a cure for cancer before politicians find a cure for war.
Dr. mOe Bestselling Author
Dr. mOe Anderson is a survivor and serial entrepreneur who has dedicated her life to promoting the power of owning one’s choices, personal empowerment and achieving multiple streams of happiness. She is the author of seven books and hundreds of articles for journals, anthologies, and a major daily newspaper. She is consistently rated “best speaker” by audiences who are moved to laughter and tears by her inspiring speeches and workshops.