It has only been one week since I learned I have breast cancer.
And it’s been a lifetime.
Immediately following the dreaded doctors visit, I jumped on a plane with my middle son Bode, and we headed off to Fort Worth Texas for the NCAA Gymnastics National Championships. We spent time surrounded by inspirational athletes, coaches, families and fans. We cheered our team on to a second place nail-biter finish, and watched tearfully as Georgia Dabritz got two perfect 10s on bars, and won the national uneven bars title. What a weekend it was, and a welcome distraction.
I have learned three valuable lessons in this first week.
1) I couldn’t help but look around at the crowds, in the airport, at the events, on the streets, and wonder who else had just received life-changing news. Who was just diagnosed, who just learned that they were being laid off, who just lost a loved one, who just won a competition, who just found out they were pregnant? We are so complex, and so good at hiding what is going on inside. In this first week, looking through these new lenses, I’m seeing everyone as the stories and experiences they hold. I’m seeing the world through lenses of love and compassion.
2) I learned that I take those lenses off when I’m home and feel safe. After a week of wearing my game face, it was shockingly easy for me to be short and defensive with my husband, over the smallest things. That is NOT who I want to be through this. I know that part of this journey is about teaching me to love more deeply, to pull in and love those closest to me, fiercely and authentically. Lenses on. Love and compassion.
3) I’m learning how I want to show up when I hear someone else sharing their story of grief, or fear, or loss. It has been so healing for me to be asked about my experience, and to be listened to. It is therapeutic to talk about the details and the possibilities, and I love that there are people in my life who are not afraid to hear them. I want to be that moving forward.