Emptiness, that’s what it felt like. A nothingness. A void. A gaping hole, the size of the Grand Canyon filled my world.
Since my diagnosis in July of 2017 until the end of my radiation treatment at the end of May in 2018 I had been going non-stop. My life was consumed by cancer. Your life is pretty much mapped out for you. You go from one doctor’s appointment to another. Physical therapy, surgery, recovery, chemotherapy, radiation and then the doctor says, “see you in three months”.
The first week I went to see my family in the Netherlands, followed by a cruise vacation in Alaska, so there was plenty of distraction.
Upon return from vacation, I had to adjust to a new rhythm. There was nowhere to go, nothing to do. I had been pouring all my energy into healing and battling cancer now there was nowhere for the energy to go.
I had to create a new normal. A new routine. I had the feeling I had to be doing something.
I was resting and sleeping a lot, managing the lingering side effects of radiation and chemo. Neuropathy was slowly fading, and I created ways to manage my chemo brain. Siri because my best friend in helping me remember things.
I would take it one day at a time. Getting through the day, creating a sense of normalcy, but this big void lived inside me.
This was thus far the most difficult part of my journey. Trying to pick up the pieces of my life that would never be the same as before. This time became a period of reflection. Gaining a deeper understanding of my purpose and if I’m living my purpose and in alignment with my values.
Writing this blog and sharing my story is part of reinventing myself. I had become complacent and stopped stretching myself to grow, learn and give back.
Over the course of the next six months, I was able to slowly close that void and creating meaning and purpose in my life. Starting fresh.
Which included literally starting in a new place. In July of 2018 we moved to a brand-new building, in a new vibrant neighborhood in Miami. A place where I never had cancer, or chemo side effects or radiation burns. Moving only forward.
I was able to start exercising again, which was of tremendous help. Getting your body to move, even if it’s just for a short walk while you gain strength to go a little further every day. I had to get in shape for the upcoming reconstruction surgery.