Seasons of Cancer
This month officially kicks off summer—my favorite season! I immensely enjoy three seasons. I hate the fourth. But I make the most of each season—even the one I hate. I survive it. After all, it’s not as if I have a choice.
Beginning with spring and ending in winter, the four seasons are also compared to the seasons of our lives. In some ways, seasons remind me of the different aspects of my lung cancer journey. One cancer season does not follow another, like our natural weather seasons. But understanding some similarities between the natural seasons and the season of our cancer journey may help us during those particularly harsh or seemingly unbearable seasons.
Spring: Life, Beauty and Uncertainty
Spring brings welcoming warmer temperatures, new life and colorful blossoms. Spring is my second favorite season. The days become longer and warmer. Although chilly, rainy days may come there is an unstoppable warming trend and assurance that abundant sunshine is just around the corner. But this is also the season of sudden, unpredictable powerful storms.
Spring reminds me of the early days of my diagnosis. I was busy enjoying and loving life. Then, a violent, turbulent storm popped up out of nowhere. The diagnosis hit me like a tornado, turning my world upside down. The dark clouds remained as I faced treatment and learned about dismal lung cancer statistics.
Summer: Hard Work Produces Results
Summer is often associated with lazy days, probably from our youth when school was out for summer. But summer is actually a time to work. Anyone who has ever gardened knows that only too well. My husband hates summer as much as I love it. I cannot take the cold; he cannot take the heat. I love that I can walk outside and not have to put on a coat, hat and gloves.
Summer can be compared to my season of treatments. It can be extremely grueling. My treatment was a thoracotomy followed by chemotherapy. For me, surgery was very difficult. I had an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy making that treatment more challenging than it would have been otherwise.
Autumn: Harvest and Rest
By the time autumn appears, the sun is warm but there is a welcoming crispness in the air. Leaves display assorted colors of bright yellow to scarlet. Autumn can be a time of reflection and rest from the labors of summer. When I completed treatment, my husband and I took a celebratory long cruise. I began to relax and enjoy life again. I had new challenges to face, but I was ready.
For me, autumn is beautiful, yet sad, at the same time. Days become shorter and a sense of impending doom from the knowledge that, inevitably, autumn ushers in winter.
Winter: Hibernation and Preservation
Yes, I hate the coldness of winter. But there are some good things about winter, such as families gathering together during the holidays. Another good thing about winter is that the cold freeze helps kill the bugs in the ground. For me, the best thing about winter is the promise of spring.
Winter can be like the anxious days of watching and waiting for the next scan, accompanied by promising hope for another season of life.
As we go in and out of different seasons during our cancer journey, look for the positive. Celebrate the good seasons. Look to family and friends to help endure the hardships of the troubling seasons. Sometimes a season has nothing else to offer but hope for better seasons to come.
What is your favorite season and why? What season are you in with your lung cancer journey?
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