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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

I woke up this morning knowing I had to blog about this. The title for the post was clear in my mind and although the words weren’t as clear, the feelings and phrases had obviously rolled around in my head most of the night.

Most people have been touched by cancer in some way. Either by having it themselves, or helping a family member or friend fight their way through the disease. Far too many never win their fight. Far too many are left to slowly spend their last days in extreme pain, withering away, while their family and friends can only comfort and love the soul as they transition from this world on to the next. It is a situation where everyone involved feels helpless and must come to terms with the great sadness that comes from not being able to effectively find a solution to the problem. I have lost women who were very important to me – my grandmother and also a work colleague – to ovarian cancer. They were courageous every step of the way. But in the end, the cancer won.

I have also been blessed to know cancer survivors. My husband and my mom. Both in the last year have faced this monster eyeball to eyeball. Fortunately, my husband’s was quickly dealt with – skin cancer – and basal cells can be seen as predictable and removable all in one fell sweep. My mom was faced with colon cancer. She is one of the healthiest women I know – exercises daily, eats all the right things, and has done so for years. She faced breast cancer a few years ago and was able to fight it with out surgery as early detection allowed for alternative successful treatments. But… this colon cancer… it was a three headed scary monster of a thing. It required surgery. It required lots of prayer. It required all of us around her to have more faith than we ever thought we would need. It required us to expect supernatural things be possible. Her worst fear was that she would have to undergo chemo. As a nurse for over 20 years, she knew how chemo – as effective as it can be – slowly destroys the rest of your body along with the cancer. We were so blessed she had a very skilled surgeon who captured all the cancer and was able to reconnect her bowel to return her to “normal” when all the healing was done.

All the healing… an interesting concept. You see… surviving cancer… I think you never really heal. Not every part of you. There is always a part way back in the recesses of your mind that remembers and haunts you. It requires you to be extra vigilant in what you eat, how you exercise, and how often you see your doctor. As a survivor, you can never go back to the innocent mindset you had before. Knowledge is power of course. But with knowledge also brings responsibility. It becomes something you must never truly pack away or forget about because you might need to be ready for battle again if the cancer reoccurs.

Someone recently referred to removing friends or frienemies from their SL list feeling as freeing as successful cancer surgery. At the time, those words rang very hollow over and over in my mind. It wasn’t until this morning when I woke up, that I knew how I had to address them and why. No matter how much pain we may be in from friendships and love lost, there is no comparison to surviving or battling cancer. To say so insults all the millions who deal with cancer every day.

Life is all about perspective – both RL and SL. Surviving cancer and losing loved ones to cancer and remembering and honoring them reminds me of that perspective. I am so proud of those who have fought the battle courageously – even if they lost. It is the ultimate test of the human spirit – for themselves as well as their family and friends. Thankfully, SL doesn’t ever expose us to carcinogens that cause our avitars to have cancer. Perspective… it is all about perspective.

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