I stumbled across something on twitter a week or so ago. An online community called I Had Cancer was running a contest called #5Words2Cancer. Not that I think I will win (though would love a trip to New York City or an iPad for sure!), but I thought it would be a good writing exercise. Boil down what I would say to cancer, as though it were a person, in only five words. Thoughts have been running through my mind for days, but everything that I can think of is far too long. What would I say? Of course, I am stronger than you kept popping into my mind, but given how I feel about the term survivor, I don’t think that’s quite right. My friends are stronger than you. (Good, but too long.) You taught me how to be a friend. (Why not #6Words2Cancer? I’ve got bunches of those.) But then I started trying to think about my experience as a whole. From start to (I hope) finish. What sums it up?
And then I remembered a post I’d written a while ago on faith and faithfulness, and it became clear. I was ready for you. Sure, five years studying breast cancer to earn a PhD in tumor biology certainly gave me much needed confidence in my doctors and the treatment plan they suggested. But beyond just the knowledge to understand the big words and even the big picture, I was ready. I won’t rewrite that post here (please read it if you haven’t), but suffice it to say, from my friends to my newfound love of running to a lump I’d found years earlier, I was ready. I can’t imagine having been more prepared to go through something so awful, and being ready really made it a lot less awful. So there you have it. There are my five words, cancer. I was ready for you.
I love this photo because it reminds me of how much I am loved. I was looking at something with my friends (all but Sally were brand new chemo friends!) on my computer and kept getting interrupted by texts, emails, and facebook messages from friends and family on my first chemo day.