Christy Powers continues to process the news of her diagnosis; she sees the New Year through a different lens and stresses the importance of every moment.
Another year is passing and a new one will begin. Most will simply reflect on the past year and celebrate the one ahead. But my perspective has been infected and with these fresh eyes, the passing of this year is much more profound for me than years past.
The chance to have another year that many who fight this same cancer battle might not, is a blessing I am grateful for every day. It’s like chance and fate are selling tickets for a year of life as the diagnosed waits to see if their number is called. With my early diagnosis, through early detection, it feels like I have won the lottery of life.
Every New Year seems to bring about a declaration of resolutions. “I’ll save more money this year.” “I’ll get healthier or lose weight this year.” “I’ll mend fences of past strife with friends or family and reconnect with them this year.” “I’ll finally start that project or go on that trip I’ve always dreamed about this year.” Millions of resolutions that usually end from a lack of resolve within the actual resolution.
There is a powerful quote stating, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” And this year that powerful message sinks into my pool of resolve. We all think there will be time to do, go, be, act. Until one day you wake up and the time is gone, spent, used, and past.
I have never been more profound since being diagnosed with cancer. I am lost in thought most days. Some spent reminiscing on the past, or hopes for the future. Often, worry tries to seduce my daydreams, to trade in past actions for another and wonder what life would have been like if I had chosen another path or picked a different action. Cancer definitely brings upon a reflection of life as you become a critic of your own life and begin to fill with questions and regret.
Oftentimes, when remembering the past, I feel the happiness spent with family and friends. I can feel pride’s warmth regarding the times I have learned something or felt something for the first time. And I feel a deep longing from missing those family and friends that are no longer alive.
Mostly though, my time is spent pondering about how I want to live the rest of my days. Not just the questions of: What will I do? Where will I go? Or what will happen to my body with the upcoming surgery? No. The question that weighs on my mind the most is: Who will I be?
So, my New Year resolutions are of a different kind this year. Ones that may be different but could be the difference on a new future I can give myself. Actions that I choose, not ones that happen to me. In a time of feeling powerless with some choices that have been taken from me by cancer, I find peace with the possibility of positive change through resolve.
We are all here for such a short period of time. And so easily we can forget to really know the people in our lives. Not, how their day was or how the job is going, etc. … I mean, really getting to know them and have deep conversations with them.
Conversations about life issues and about what their biggest triumphs and fears are. What choices in life they are proud of and which ones they realized were mistakes they had to learn from. What they would have done different if given that second chance and what they would love to pass on to us as wisdom. And I begin to have regret for not taking that kind of care and attention with those I have already lost. I resolve to listen and get to know those in my life better this year.
I resolve to live in the now this year. Knowing it is not a place, but a choice. To live in the present. To try to take a deep breath in each experience and live it fully. To do it out of respect for the one I am sharing it with and by this also respect myself. The present will be my doctor.
I resolve to enjoy many of the things I am passionate about in my life throughout the battle and healing this year, like music. I can lose myself in a song and let it take me to a different place. Maybe I am rare or maybe I am the norm, but music just evokes emotion in me and some songs just open the floodgates of my heart.
I seem to do my best thinking while really listening and losing myself in music. It has been my support, security, sanity, and smile many times. Lyrics seem to take my breath away often and leave a lump in my throat when I begin to feel every emotion sweetly pour out. Music will be my medicine.
I resolve to try and capture and collect moments of time with photos and memories. To capture the joy or sorrow of the moment. To look at a photo and relive the moment a thousand times. I want to feel the spark in their eyes and read the meaning behind a smile or tear that fell. I resolve to see the beauty and hope in this troubling world and fearful time. Photos of memories will be my nurse.
And I resolve to write. To let the words flow and allow my mind to feel the surreal, consuming, and even intoxicating power of the written word. To write to remember what I was feeling in an exact moment of time, the good and the bad as both have lessons to teach. If I can capture it and find the words to translate the emotion, the mood, even the way the air felt on my skin, I can give myself a rare gift of reliving those moments again and again, in a way only I can see, through my eyes. Writing will be my therapy.
Every time during the upcoming year that I feel lost or distant from my resolve, I will listen, look, and read, taking it all in as if these were prescribed for my treatment of cancer. This year, my prescription is to live. To live, to become part of my new year.
2015 was a tough year. What I have learned most is to appreciate every sunset. It is a sign of one more day that I have had a chance to live. And how special those days can be when I have gotten to share them with those I love.
Yes, I have been diagnosed with cancer, but I have been blessed with a year of learning and I hope you have learned a few things too. To all my friends for the New Year to come, I wish for you to find your own path to your resolve. And prescribe the things you are most passionate about to heal and support your heart and mind for the New Year to come. I hope that prescription includes a wonderful year of happiness, laughter, fun adventures, and fantastic memories. I hope we can share it together and hope to see you all soon.
Musically inspired by the Elenowen song, “For the Taking.”
[Editor’s Note: Christy needs help affording the treatment she needs, her insurance is only going to go so far, please consider donating money to Christy Powers’ Breast Cancer Fundraiser through GiveForward.]
The header image is a piece of art by Lisa DiAmor, visit her website HERE.