Three orchid plants sit on a window sill behind a window showing winter, fall, and summer. The orchid starts with closed buds and eventually blooms.

Anniversary for My Lung Cancer

June is the 4th anniversary of my lung cancer diagnosis. I cannot remember the exact date and I cannot tolerate to think back the days I was diagnosed. However, I can remember the big memories from the past 4 years. Around this time of the year, they keep replaying in my mind and I have frequent flashbacks. Among the memories, one thing that seems not-so-significant keeps coming up.

It’s not just about the blossoming flowers

I have loved orchids for many years, even before they were popular and common in households, but I never had orchids in our house. For several years, I enjoyed orchids once a week in my children’s piano teacher’s house. The orchid blossomed for 4 months and then is replaced by a new orchid. I only paid attention to the blossoming orchids, never noticed how long the orchids can survive.

Last year when I was stable with my lung cancer, the 1st thing I did was to buy 2 orchid plants. I enjoyed them. After several months the blossoms faded, but the leaves were still green. There was no new flower blossom for what seemed like forever. So I bought 2 new orchids. My husband wanted to throw the first 2 orchids away because dead plants do not bring a very prosperous or thriving atmosphere. I somehow felt uneasy about throwing the plants away even though I never really thought the plants would bloom ever again.

Seeing myself in my orchids

One day I noticed that one of my orchid plants were missing. Suddenly the uneasy feeling became clear and unbearable: if you kept the orchids just for their flowers, and dumped them when they couldn’t bear any more flowers, then how about me?

It may sound silly, but I couldn’t get rid of the idea. Outside of the house, my husband and I used to both have equally busy and competitive careers. In our household, we shared the housework - I cooked, my husband did the laundry. I cleaned the house, my husband did the yard work. I took the kids to piano lessons, my husband accompanied the kids to their sports games. Now I have cancer and I cannot do what I used to do, do I deserve the same fate as orchids?

Blossom or not my orchids are beautiful

I insisted that nobody should touch the remaining orchids, blossoming or not. I now have 4 orchids, after one orchid was thrown away. As long as the leaves are green, I am going to take care of them. I leave them under the sun and water them regularly as if they were still blossoming. Sometimes I even speak to them, when nobody else is around. I think even if the orchids die, at least they deserve to be treated nicely for their last several days or months.

Don't give up life easily

To my surprise, the orchids just blossomed again for the 2nd time. Though they are not perfect flowers like the orchids bought from shops, they indeed blossomed again. For some reason, I like the current orchids better. I feel that these orchids are more beautiful and stronger, and I should never have doubted about them. We shouldn’t give up life easily.

Now, the orchids have fully blossomed. I enjoy their shapes and colors, but I enjoy more their life force. They taught me a valuable lesson that is: don’t let the current (dying) situation put you down, always be positive for tomorrow.

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