Not all negative memories need to remain. We have the ability to change our narratives and the stories we tell ourselves.
My mom, sister and aunt all commented on how beautiful the grounds of the Schar Cancer Institute were when they came to chemo with me. They asked if I’d ever sat outside here. My answer was a quick and emphatic “NO!” I didn’t want to spend any extra time in this place than I had to. To me, it represented cancer and chemo and that.was.all. It was an in-and-out place for me.
Today I returned to the Schar Cancer Institute. This time, not for bloodwork, not for genetic testing, not for chemo, not even for a doctor appointment. I returned for a massage! And not just any massage….a FREE massage with a therapist certified in oncology massage. It was wonderful and with all the stress I’ve been feeling lately, it was perfect timing. Through Life with Cancer and Healwell (2 fantastic organizations – please check them out and consider making a donation), I was offered 3 free massages. As you know, I am all about self care and love massages, so I jumped on this opportunity.
Relaxed from my massage, I decided to stay here, grab a coffee and sit outside in one of the beautiful courtyards. In fact, I’m typing this as I sit here. At this moment, I’m realizing that this building represents more than the bad things. It represents reflection and peace, calm and healing. As I look around at the magnificent art sculptures, the decorative bench, the trees and the nearly cloudless sky, the words that come to mind are HOPE and GRATITUDE.
I feel so much gratitude for my entire medical team, especially the nurses here who took such incredible care of me during my 13 straight weeks of chemo. I am grateful for Life with Cancer, all who donate their time and funding to the program, those who work there and the phenomenal programs/services offered. I am grateful for the genetic testing I received here and the counselor who worked with me. I am grateful for the chemo I received here and hopeful that it did the job required. I am grateful to whoever designed and created this serene outdoor space, so I could breathe in fresh air here and finally change the story I was telling myself about this place.
I’m grateful I returned here to have this moment and this shift in perspective today. In the near future, I will undergo 25 rounds of radiation here in this building. I believe and hope I will look at things much differently when that time comes. (If not, please remind me of this post!)