What A Difference A Year Makes

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
~ Multiple Attributions

It is impossible to imagine that it has been 365 days since I heard the words “It’s cancer.” In so many ways – it feels like it was yesterday. In many others – I feel like this past year has been the longest of my life.

The funny thing is, as I sit and ruminate about all that has transpired, my mind does not focus on the fear or pain or sadness. Rather, I recall the laughter and the times with friends and family and the “good stuff.” There were times over the past year that I felt like a victim. Self-pity became commonplace for days on end. Yet today I truly feel fortunate. AND – I don’t want to sound like one of those “rah rah – cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me” girls. But really, I’m kinda thankful.

pain quoteIt is especially difficult to rationalize these kinds of feelings when I think of a friend who lost his battle with cancer. He was diagnosed around the same time as me. But his cancer wasn’t treatable. His cancer was mean and ugly and invasive. And he passed away just about a week ago. I remember visiting him in the hospital late last year. I think he knew at the time that his options were few. But he had a smile on his tired face and continued to fight the fight.

So when I think of my own battle and where I am today, I sit here stunned. I’m trying not to ask myself, “Why me? Why do I still get to be here?” There is no sense in asking this question. Rather – I am going to spend today thinking about all the things I learned over the past year. Like how utterly important friends are. That asking for help is a good thing. An essential thing. That trust is key. Trust in doctors, trust in myself. That, despite how much fear or defeat or pain one might experience, there is always hope.

Reprinted with permission https://tatatalk.wordpress.com/

LOOKING AHEAD: Kathryn will be contributing regularly beginning in August where she’ll share with us her plans for an extended travel adventure volunteering with global organizations dedicated to preservation of the wild animal kingdom.

About Kathryn Gilmore

Kathryn is an animal lover, world traveler, cancer survivor, food enthusiast and story teller. Her first trip to Africa in 2005 to volunteer with lions opened her eyes to the healing that international travel and working with animals affords. Since this inaugural trip, life has been more focused close to home ... becoming her mother's caretaker during her last days as she battled pancreatic cancer, taking on her own fight with breast cancer, moving back near her beloved home town in California, starting a food business and continuing to write and care for animals. In September 2015, Kathryn embarked on a six-month journey to Africa and Asia to volunteer at several animal sanctuaries. Her stories from afar were featured in her blog and focused on majestic wildlife, mouthwatering food, meeting people from all walks of life and personal growth. She is currently working on a book about her life and her travels – and hopes to develop a children’s book focused on elephants. Her blog, Onward Voyage, may be found at: www.onwardvoyage.com.

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