It has been more than a month since I have written to you. I had to yield these posts to the combination of a massive work project at my day job and the craziness of the holidays.
In the time I spent away, I learned a beautiful lesson with my mother. A few of you know that she got diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer over the summer. Ovarian cancer is a dangerous creeper, only detected when it has grown and potentially spread its way throughout the body. The most common type of ovarian cancer, the cancer my mom has, is aggressive. In August she had surgery. In September she started and intense course of chemo. Since then our family has been learning everything there is to know about fighting cancer, through treatments and through lifestyle changes. A beautiful network of supportive friends, family (and strangers!) have cheered my mother on, sent her love and support, offered advice and whatever else she needs.
How do I describe my mom’s attitude around this cancer creeper? A positive attitude does not begin to characterize her determination to beat the cancer and to live a thriving and healthy lifestyle. In week 18 (the last week of her chemo) my mom and I went to spinning and yoga classes. She told doctors that she would be the poster child for ovarian cancer survival, when so many people told us that there wasn’t much hope. Along the way we had little angels with ovarian cancer experiences pass along quiet messages of hope, hugely welcomed alongside the people who told us discouraging things like that there were no ovarian cancer survivor groups.
Over the holidays we reached a monumental phase in my mom’s treatment – the end of Chemo. One thing that only people who have experienced aggressive cancer learn is that this can be a nerve-wracking time. You are sent home with no further treatment. Nothing else to do but to take good care of yourself and recover from the Chemo. I made my mom soups and we worked on healthy habits for recovering from the Chemo and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We went to yoga, got exercise, and my mom shared with me the fun things she had planned for the coming year, among them harmonica camp, and band practice.
And I learned something beautiful from this difficult time. My mom was doing everything within her power to help her body heal from cancer, to live an energetic awesome life after ovarian cancer, to set positive intensions around recovery. And alongside all this the unknowns linger. But this is the beautiful lesson in every challenging experience: we do everything within our power to do the best by our lives and then we surrender the rest to God. We live on the edge of being entirely responsible for our lives and knowing that we are not in control.
I have been thinking about the wisdom of that message in the last few weeks. Each week I take actions to move my business forward. For several weeks I was just making incremental progress on the blouse while the rest of my life was overtaken by the work project, the holidays and supporting my family. There I also needed to surrender. And then this last weekend I completed another version of the blouse, meeting with the pattern making teacher and digital pattern making expert, not knowing what they would say, whether the blouse would be ready for the next phase–where we program the pattern to adapt to different client measurements. I had no control over the timing of this, what would come next, only what I could do in each moment to move it forward. Balancing along the edge of responsibility for my actions and intension in this moment and surrendering the full picture, the outcome to God.
This line is not an easy one to walk, but it is all of life. It is the truth. I am walking it with you, co-creating to heal our world.
Go, fight, win.
P.S. – For anyone who has ovarian cancer, or who knows someone with ovarian cancer who needs a fellow survivor to cheer them on, my mom has offered to be that person. Pls send me a message and I will connect you: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are rooting for you.