My Story. Don't Call It a Comeback.
Updated: May 11
I was sucker punched. Hard. I was knocked on my butt. I was whomped upside the head, kicked in the gut, hung out to dry, rock bottomed.
Not by any human but by cancer.
Hearing the words terminal cancer will stop you in your tracks. I had to remind myself to breathe. I had black- out periods where I can't remember much. Just time lost. Flashbacks, oh the flashbacks, each were and are still brutal. The chemo, radiation, the surgeries, the looks, the smells, the sounds, the abandonment of so-called friends allowed loneliness to creep in and put a stranglehold on me. The pain screamed in my face daily like a relentless head banging metal song at top volume and never is turned off.
But then there’s so much more. The financial devastation arrives ready to snatch up years of hard work and gobble it down without remorse. As a freelance marketing consultant, my clients no longer wanted someone who couldn’t be at their beckon call. One client even terminated our agreement the day I was diagnosed and still in the hospital. Where was the loyalty there? Years of hard work for people, gone.
That very same wretched day produced double devastation, my husband, David was unfairly let go of his job, his dream job at that.He earned that job. He didn’t deserve losing it. He is a man of upmost integrity. He stands for right. He stands for good. He would lay his life down for others he didn’t even know. But this day it didn’t matter. His department needed a scape goat. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the right thing (another in “the click scalywag” had to be protected, yeah, I said it!) and in a blink of an eye, the life we had, the life we knew was over.
Do you know how easy it would’ve been to just say f@@k it? I had a million excuses; it’s too hard, recovering is against the odds, I'm scared, I'm too tired. We're suddenly broke. The world would be better off without me. Why even try? Before I could even think straight, David had already devised a plan, a life saver. He put aside his own hurt and devastation from the loss of his career to pick up my burden and carry me to the finish line. 24 hours a day, seven days a week he took me to treatments, held my hand, sat at my bedside, turned on the airconditioner, turned on the heat, turned on the airconditioner, turned on the heat (I was never satisfied), pep talked me, cooked every meal, and most importantly prayed for me. The daily calls from my son, his love and determination played a very big role in my desire to fight. Without him, the thought of seeing him graduate college, watching him marry, seeing my future grandchildren was a stark reminded that I must fight and win to be a part of what I had always dreamed of.
In the middle of it all, I lost my father. The pain felt just too much. My heart hurt so much. The question replaying in my mind…what did we do to deserve this? That answer should’ve come easily but I couldn’t find it. Good things happen to bad people. It wasn't anything I had done or hadn't done. I needed God but I had fallen away. David gave me the courage to face my past my circumstances, my grief and take it to the Father.
I was reminded to find joy in every season. That is not always easy to do.
I felt a comforting peace come over me. I knew whatever the outcome, it is well. My soul was rescued and disease cannot strip that away. What happens next is redemption. It sparked hope. I felt it. That one little flicker of a spark. It soon ignited and I knew I would come through with tremendous growth. This little light was still going to shine.
That was three years ago, two years and 9 months longer than given to live. Today, scans are clear, no evidence of disease and though I am still healing, I have great joy in sharing my triumphs as well as my defeats. And even though I went through hell, I now appreciate so much more and I have a life worth living, one of purpose and on purpose. Thinking about it now, I would have never met some of the best people in the world if I had not entered the ring and fought. What a gift I have been given!
We all have troubles. There isn't a person on earth who can escape them. The good news? We have the ability to rise. No matter what dire circumstance, there is light, there is hope, there is life. I hope that through this journey we share, we’ll connect and find joy in every season. Let's embrace it. Let's celebrate the victories. Let's appreciate even the smallest things. Let's learn from defeats and above all…let's move forward.
Together we are going to have some fun, travel new places, learn fabulous things, take good care of ourselves, and let our beauty shine through. It’s about being triumphant. Shine on. #LetsMoveForward #leeannlarkan