You don’t know what your journey in life is going to look like, so get busy living or get busy dying. My name is Maria, and I am blessed to be alive. I had a beautiful encounter prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer, that changed the course of my life. I was taking a nap, and felt myself being lifted in my sleep. I was feeling the wind so fierce but so serene with an intense peace. I said simply, “Where am I going?” I knew this was a heavenly encounter, but I did not realize what part this would play in my journey with lung cancer.
It was just a simple camping trip and a conversation with my brother Pete, who is a year older than I. He had just had a heart attack, recovered and came to visit me at my campsite. I questioned him relentlessly about his symptoms, worried I might have a heart attack as well, since he was only a year older. He told me about the pressure in his shoulder, and a feeling or “being full” that just would not go away. Lo and behold that night I began feeling the same symptoms which resulted in an ambulance ride to the ER.
Then they said “We have good news and the other news, which do you want first?”
“Good news, no heart attack – bad news we found a mass in your lower right lung. Do you want to see the x-ray?”
“No” I replied. I was stunned for a moment, digested the news, and never looked back until right now, writing these words. The next couple of hours were a whirlwind of biopsies, tests, doctors, oncologists, then came tears, family, and faith. Little did I know then that the heavenly encounter I had had would be the manifestation of that calming force joining me on my journey with cancer. I knew whatever the outcome, I would be alright.
My oncologists office brought many opportunities to connect with others on a similar journey, yet each unique to their own. I wanted to do something for my fellow “warriors” in the waiting room. I talked to as many as I could, encouraging them in any way I could. Little did I know then, how much I loved them and still do to this day. I would share my story of my heavenly encounter to give my fellow warriors hope. I did not know the outcome either; we were all in this together. I am forever grateful for them and their compassion towards me.
It’s been 6 years now for me… lower right lung removed, four rounds of chemotherapy, but I have been given the gift of life. I knew that I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to help others suffering with cancer, but I just did not know how to go about it. So, I prayed on it, and the thing that kept coming to mind was to start a Cancer Support Community at my parish. To my amazement my parish priest agreed, and it will all become a reality as of February 2017. Of course my determination to help others has resulted in my own little website called “Cancer Community” on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/cancercommunity
If only one person is helped that is my happiness, my ultimate goal. My friends believe me when I say; cancer patients don’t need your pity. We need your support, positive attitude, and your inspiration. Remember my friends cancer cannot cripple love, nor shatter hope, destroy peace, silence courage, suppress memories, or steal eternal life. So, please encourage someone today that has lost hope, there is always between us a glimmer of light that we can share.