As the dawns’ light begins to cascade through the drawn blind, I feel a kitten jump onto my legs and then my chest before dropping a toy next to my face, then proceed to burrow her way under the covers into the warm sheets. I’m now awake and open my eyes just in time to see two eyes looking up at me from just under the sheets, as she pokes her head out “meowing” her morning greeting just as another fur baby jumps on top of me. My fur-babies… what joy they bring to my life!
Today, I want to share my heart with you answering a question that I get asked quiet often, “What’s it like being alive knowing that you’ve went through all you have been through in your life, specifically in regards to overcoming Pancreatic Cancer”? Maybe you’ve personally asked me this question, or have wanted to, or maybe not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I want to openly share with you and also ask that you’d take time to reflect on your own life, all that you’ve went through that has helped contribute to making you the unique person you are today. Will you join me? If so, let’s begin!
“Kelly, can I ask you what it’s like for you to be here today being alive and well? What’s it like to be here, when by statistical odds you should be gone, being as sick as you were, and here you are today standing healthy and well. What’s it like?” I’ve been asked.
Let me start off by saying this is a question that to this day can still bring a very real lump to my throat, a catch to my voice, and at times bring tears to my eyes. It’s a question that I truly am grateful that I get the honor of answering whenever I’m asked. I’m blessed to openly share my answer here today with you, as well.
As my fur-babies snuggle in with me, I open my eyes and the first thing I say and think when I wake up in the morning is, “Good morning, Papa God! Thank you for a new day, for whatever this day entails.” That’s how my morning starts, followed by some rabbit trails in talking to my Papa God. As I lay in bed after spending some quality time with Papa, I look at my two young kittens, called ‘The Cubs’ for short. I feel overcome with thankfulness to have them a part of my and our family’s’ lives.
Every single day that I wake up (and I’m NOT kidding you), I feel SO very thankful to be here, alive and well. To greet each day and every opportunity is something that I don’t take for granted. I know to some this sounds crazy that I look at even the “bad” outcomes of opportunities as a blessing to experience whatever happened, but it’s the truth. For me, the good that comes and happened from opportunities outdoes the “bad” ones, immensely.
Recently, a classmate of mine both stated then asked me, “I see that you say you are living your best life right now. Can you explain this to me?” while she was going through some of my paperwork as we came to meet on Zoom.
Unexpectedly, the lump in my throat formed and I hesitated before I looked her in the eyes and said, “For many years of my life, 7 to be exact, I was sick. Very sick. It was to the point that for a good length of time I didn’t know if I would wake to see the morning when I’d finally drifted off into a restless night of sleep. When I’d awake, the next morning I was still breathing. I was alive. I’d get up, then do what I had to do to make it through the day; running my business, taking care of my pets, and taking care of myself the best I could. It was exhausting to say the least when I literally had no energy. I hurt 24/7, and …” my voice trailed off, then I paused.
“My ill-health journey was a really long one.” I went on, “The long story short is, at year #5 (age 23), although I had already been certain of it in the years before #5, I received the results of a test that I had Pancreatic Cancer. The mental and physical battles for all those years prior to that were undoubtedly the hardest, because people would sometimes say to me, ‘Are you sure, since your test results all come back normal, that it isn’t all in your head?’ It got to the point that I didn’t share much with but a handful of people that I had P. Cancer. I couldn’t and didn’t want to handle people pushing their thoughts and opinions on me when I needed to focus on my part to reversing my health.”
“The next year after the test confirmed cancer was rigorous with detoxifying all the toxins in my body. It was during this time that I truly realized just how close a brush with death I’d been living every day for quiet some time. And then, too, not to mention a day where I literally did almost die on the bathroom floor in my Mom’s arms.” Again, I paused for a length of time, being taken back to that day on the floor.
My peer on the other end of our Zoom meeting sat in silence, letting me collect my thoughts, giving her unconditional love with her mere presence. It was tangible, her care. “To literally walk away from the opportunity to ‘be done living’, to choose life, is a gift that I will forever cherish. Not everyone gets this gift, a second chance to live. For me, there literally isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wake up in the morning and am thankful for this day. When I go to bed at night, there’s nights that I have happy tears because I’ve gotten to be a part of, and have experienced, so much in my day being alive.”
“That is beautiful” my peer stated quietly.
“Life holds such meaning to me as an individual. I truly don’t take it for granted.” I sighed. “So what’s it like to be alive and living my best life, feeling the best that I’ve ever felt and being the best version of myself?” I stated looking at her while she nodded for me to answer. “To be alive and living my best life is literally a dream come true for me. It sounds crazy, I know. At 28 years old, I’ve literally went through a living hell to put it nicely. Now-a-days, to be healthy and well is almost mind boggling. To not hurt, to not have headaches or pain, to go to the bathroom on my own without some kind of intervention, I’m reminded every day, multiple times throughout the day, that I’m here, alive, healthy and well. I get to experience life and everything it offers, both the good and the hardships. And I’m thankful for both because I certainly could have not had either had I died.” I smiled, and my peer smiled back. “Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I’m not sure I can explain it, but I know it, feel it, and believe it to be true. I am living the best version of myself each and everyday… and strive to enhance it each and everyday. I’m a work in progress, and aren’t we all?” I said while chuckling. My peer chuckled and said.
“We sure are!”
“You know, _______, I guess to wrap up your question, I just want to say one last comment. Each and every day is a gift. Against all odds of statistics, and with how ill/sick I truly was, I know that I am a living miracle… and I’m humbly stating this. My Papa God brought me to this earth to do the work he set forth for me to do, and he has put me here for a reason. I trust him and the work he’s done, is doing, and will be doing in the future. I embrace life for the beautiful gift it is each and everyday. I’ve went through a lot in my life. Everybody does. It just looks, sounds, feels, and is different for each person. Everyone has a story, has experiences, and I hope that each person sees how these can and will enhance their life no matter the circumstance(s). To find beauty out of ashes, that in and of itself is a gift. I’ve experienced that and continue to. I make lemonade out of lemons. It’s not always graceful, beautiful, or even pretty, but it happens, eventually. Sometimes I fight my Papa God to do so, but he always has a way of bringing me back to reality. And when I’m thirsty enough, I finally take those lemons to make some thirst quenching lemonade that makes my lips smack in pleasure.” I chuckled, because it’s true. I’m not perfect. I fall on my face. But as I fall, I want to get back up and try again.
“Life is beautiful, and I’m blessed to be apart of this dance called life.” I concluded to my peer. My fellow classmate and I talked for a while and I ended off saying to her, “You know, we were all born into this world, and eventually we’ll all pass. But it’s the in-between that matters the most. We were born into this world as warriors. Meaning, we live and endure SO much in our life that how we make it to whatever age we do is a gift that I would hope we each cherish. We are warriors of the most amazing journey we can ever be offered, the gift of life. How amazing is that!?!” I shared genuinely.
My peer and I wrapped up our paperwork, our conversation coming to an end, and we parted ways. As I went on with my day, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation that had just taken place.
To you, the Reader, what’s your life been like? What have you experienced? What have all these experiences contributed to make you the unique person you are today? How have they impacted your perceptive and value of life? As I shared my story and thoughts with you, I hope that this maybe helped you to relate and embrace your life for the beautiful gift it is. We all have life experiences. We all have a story we are writing, maybe not physically writing, but a story to share. We all have a unique place in this world that only we can fill. Don’t just take my word for it, believe for yourself. You have value, purpose, and things to offer this world that only YOU can offer.
My friend, sharing time with you while here on the blog makes my heart genuinely happy. We get to connect and share life together, a gift that is invaluable. It’s my hope that in sharing my heart with you today that you reflect on your own life and embrace what life means to you. Maybe life to you means a lot. Maybe sadly it doesn’t mean a lot to you. Maybe you’re in a tough season in your life and wondering how you’re going to make it through. If this is you, in a tough place right now, I want to personally remind you that you are a warrior. You are strong, capable, smart, exquisite, unique, and have the ability to make it out the other side in this hard season of your life. Each day put your best foot forward and greet the day with a smile. At night when you go to bed realize that you made it through another day, and you’re another day closer to the rainbow near the horizon. When you lose hope, remember that Papa God and I are both cheering you on in the greatest gift that you can possibly experience, the gift of life. Go forth and live a life that is beautiful, even in the messiness. Let that beauty shine from the inside out. I’m both honored and thankful to share life with you. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing life together here on the blog.
Until next time!