Disease Is A Shape Shifter

03/22/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Lisa Guest Stress reductionist who works on-site in corporate and creative environments

One of the things I have to get out of my brain is "it's not enough." Whether it is how much dinner I'm eating, dessert I'm hoarding or writing I'm doing. Even with my exercise, I understand 10,000 steps is a daily requirement when losing weight, but in the upcoming months I'll probably lose weight much more easily because I won't have an active appetite and will have to encourage myself to eat my nutrients not harness in the mouth that would rather swallow carbohydrates than chew emotions.

Finding out I have cancer (CLL) has been a shift shaper. The goals for the year got upended in a hurry. My sense of self and security that I'd have a long life because my matriarchs had a long life seemed to evaporate. I've been counting on the fact I'd have plenty of time to be a late bloomer and do it in a quiet, non-aggressive manner.

Getting cancer is kind of like one of those de-clutterers who go on Oprah and tells you how to clean your closets. Cancer is like a super tool to de-clutter life on so many levels. What tasks are really essential in one's day? Which people are really supportive as versus the ones that are truly just a drain? Which activities fill me with joy and which ones are just filler, blotting out feelings of the day I'd rather not feel while capably making the hours pass without too much pain?

I have to say I'm scared. I'm not someone who likes getting shots. I'm not a person who likes going to the doctor. I don't go often but regularly enough that we picked up this disease in its early formation. My mother has what I have and has been in remission for four and a half years. My gynecologist's father has this disease and has been in remission a fairly long time. A neighbor's in-laws have this strain running through their family and they have treatments while going on about their business and travels. I pray I will be that lucky. My intention is to be that blessed.

It's also changed my heart. I got so scared last Friday after meeting with the cancer doctor. He can't give me any assurance I'll be in remission for any length of time. I can understand legally why this is true, but I'd just have liked him to say this little detour will be short lived and have no residual effects on body mind or spirit. He couldn't do that. And my mind asked for the worst scenario and glommed onto it.

My male friend, who has been in my universe since last July and has a history of dealing with the medical establishment, has been a great comfort. I've always enjoyed my solitude. Seemed I could work out what was going on in my mind and feel my feelings better when alone. Yet after Friday's dose of reality the comfort of this man's constant touch has reinstated my hope for the future. He's keeping me focused on eating healthy, drinking enough fluids, and getting some exercise in so when I begin the regimen I'm strong enough to handle it. Cancer has helped me open the door to the Fort Knox of my heart. I can say yes today, and that is enough.