When first diagnosed with cancer, I felt as if my body had not only let me down, but actually turned on me. Some of my own DNA had gone rogue, grabbed some prime real estate in my lungs, and set up headquarters. Even when forcibly evicted, the rebel cells kept returning. Their numbers grew, and soon recruits were colonizing new neighborhoods.
Attempting to slow the spread of cancer has required unyielding vigilance. Emotionally and spiritually, I believe this has resulted in an unforeseen benefit; a chance for personal growth.
Physically, it has taken quite a toll. My body has been a battleground and I am scarred inside and out. This could potentially be distressing, as we live in a beauty and youth oriented society where great measures are taken to avoid the imperfections associated with aging and disease.
I am not afraid of getting old. I hope to hell I do. And I made peace with myself some time ago. Not only is all forgiven (the whole cancer thing), I have an abiding affection for this body of mine. We’ve been through a lot together, and somehow, some way, we both just keep on going.
Must be love.
Linnea Duff, of Amherst, NH, is a married mother of three who has been battling NSCLC (stage IV) for over seven years. She blogs at life and breath: outliving lung cancer.