“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” – Caroline Myss

I am nearly halfway through radiation treatments and haven’t updated the blog but, the truth is, I have been struggling.  Struggling with my goal of sharing this experience and keeping it real vs. my belief that “if you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all!”  Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling very positive.  Radiation is really not a big deal and, compared to chemo, I have nothing to complain about – I just don’t like it.  Side effects, so far, have been minor – the hardest part is the fatigue.  Mostly, I struggle to turn off my brain and trust the process!

“… she was always deeply moved by the kindness of strangers and saw in them the shape of a greater grace.” – Dean Koontz

 What I’ve forgotten that I learned early on in this journey is that being present helps me to SEE the people around me and gives me perspective.  Walking into treatment today I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself and was greeted in the patient waiting room by smiling faces who looked genuinely happy to see me.  Right away I was approached by a little girl with an armload of super soft socks.  She explained that her dad was treated for cancer last year and his feet were always cold.  Her ministry (ministry?!  a kid KNOWS that?!) now is to give socks with prayer cards to patients being treated for cancer – she’s demonstrating her gratefulness for her dad’s health now by caring for others.  How cool is that?!

I am grateful for the amazing people I am meeting along the way during this journey – the ladies who treat me and laugh with me every day, the other patients I am getting to know and care about, my doctor who genuinely wants to know about my support systems and if I’ve been treated by his staff like a person – with respect, and my awesome family who keeps picking up the slack around here, loves me and takes care of me (and us) in spite of my tiredness!  I realize now, that while I refuse to make this experience part of my identity and I’m not adopting pink as my signature color (although I do like pink!), I am and always will be connected to certain people because of our shared experience.  My heart goes out to the woman who told me in the waiting room today that her momma doesn’t have much time and for the woman who told me the kind words her mom had for me.  Her words brought tears to my eyes but gave me the encouragement I needed to leave with a light, thankful heart and a smile.  I am so very grateful and I am certain that God already has plans for me to pay it forward – I can’t WAIT to see what that looks like!

“Kindness extended, received or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved.”  –  Wayne Dyer


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anastacia Nelson
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 03:18:53

    Love the quote by Carolyn Myss. Thanks for sharing your journey. We are thinking about you and praying for you.
    Lots of love!


  2. Lisa Reeder
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 04:10:36

    You are amazing!!!!! Hugs and prayers!


  3. Chere Reed
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 15:28:37

    Gretchen you are truly amazing! I wish I had half your strength and positive outlook! I love you so much! Prayers your way for your continued success!!! MUAH!


  4. Amy Maurer
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 03:30:35

    Sweet Gretchen. Thank you for your posts. It is good to read where you are in the process. We pray for you everyday. Loved your Christmas pic – it is on our fridge. Jack asked who you were and I said that is my cousin that we are praying for. He smiled. So my sweet cousin I am praying for your endurance and peace. Jesus is with you. I wish I could give you a hug! So here is a cyber hug. Please tell your beautiful family hello. Love you! Amy


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