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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Everything Happens For a Reason

"Life Recipes" by Alison, writing from Pennsylvania, USA

Have you ever noticed, I mean really noticed, that things in our lives happen for a reason? I am not talking about war, natural disasters and the like. I mean the "stuff", be it good or bad, that occurs in our daily lives that we might not realize how significant something is until years later. Then again, sometimes we know fairly quickly.

Over the last four or so years, I began connecting the dots and have started to notice how things in my life have fallen into place. I have even gone back so far as my early childhood to wonder if I didn't have divine intervention that started back then and continued through the years to bring me to where I am today. Is my life currently everything I want it to be? Not quite, but there are things in my life that even I can't believe happened and are happening. I still laugh in disbelief about it even though it all started four and a half years ago. It was the result of listening to my gut and acting upon it even though I still can't explain why. Maybe I just have a highly developed sense of intuition, who knows. All I know is that I am very thankful I have finally realized the path that I am supposed to be on. It makes life a lot easier.

A few months ago, I announced on Tarkan Deluxe that I had been diagnosed with a rare cancer. Do I believe that that happened for a reason? Maybe (leaning more towards a "yes" every day). I know that may sound odd to you, but I really do believe it. According to my doctors and everything I have read, there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. My lifestyle, genetics, nor gender played any part in my having it. If I am going to go along with the theory that everything, good and bad, happens for a reason, this would have to be included.

As I said in my earlier post, I remember coming out of the doctor's office after my initial diagnosis with thoughts racing in my head. My mind quieted down fairly quickly and over and over I thought, "There HAS to be something good that comes from this…there just HAS to be." Since that time, I have had a surgery to remove the tumor that went so well that the neurosurgeon wasn't needed and I was released from the hospital two days later with not a black and blue mark on my face and very minimal swelling. I also had all four of my wisdom teeth removed a few weeks ago as a preventative measure against bigger problems that could arise years down the road. My five-minute-long radiation treatments began last week, but to me, they are the least of my worries. Yes, I am sure I will have some side effects, but nothing that can't be dealt with.

Have things changed? Yes, and for the better. Certain relationships got the much needed proverbial kick in the ass and improved them. My outlook on certain things regarding myself has changed too. I learned the meaning of the phrase "Life is too short to..." When you hear someone say to live everyday as if it were your last...well, I may not be doing EXACTLY that, but I am much closer than I was before. That was MY kick in the ass. I have been known in the past to have to learn some things the hard way. I don’t think you can get any more difficult than a rare cancer diagnosis.

A few weeks ago, after having an MRI scan of my head, I ran into two men that I work with who were working in the building. Marc I know personally; Steve I only knew by name. After a brief conversation, Steve mentioned a friend of his who has been diagnosed with a tumor behind his eye. He was told by one doctor that they would have to cut his skull open, another told him they would access it through his nose. As Steve was speaking, I opened my purse, reached in for my wallet and pulled out one of the most valuable business cards I have. Once he was finished, I gave him the name and read the phone number on it and said, "Please tell him to give him a call." Hopefully he will pass on the information to his friend. I think he will. He seemed very impressed with what I had to say about my experience and was amazed I was out of the hospital so quickly compared to the gruesome details his friend was given. If the doctor can't help him, I am sure he can at the very least put him in contact with someone who can.

As I was driving home, I thought of what had just happened. The likelihood of me being in the same building at the same time as Steve is EXTREMELY unlikely. There could have been roughly 90 other men that could have been working with Marc that day. The fact that there was anyone that I work with at that building at that moment is highly unlikely. No, it was a man who has a friend who is in a very similar situation as I was and who needs a great doctor. I like to think that MAYBE this is another reason why I got cancer but haven't really had any problems yet. Maybe I am being "used" to pass along information to someone who REALLY needs it but who may have never received that information had I not been able to provide it. I probably wouldn't have stopped to talk if Marc hadn't been there, simply because I did not know Steve personally and therefore wouldn't have recognized him. It makes me say the least.

When my first blog on Yahoo was still in the bottom of my main page I had two quotes:


Everything happens for a reason.

I would say they are pretty accurate, wouldn't you?

In the spirit of the American Thanksgiving holiday that has just passed and as I start my second and hopefully final phase of treatment, I want to take the time to say a few thank yous:

To Dr. Alexander Chiu at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, my ENT specialist who performed the surgery in September:

You have made what could have been a terrifying experience much more pleasant (if you can believe that) with your level of expertise and amazing bedside manner. My family, friends and I can't thank you enough.

To Dr. Edward Tomkin, my local ENT doctor who performed the first surgery to remove the so-called polyp and who diagnosed the tumor:

Thank you for "seeing the red flag waving" and referring me to Dr. Chiu.

To God:

Thank you for a tumor (sounds odd I know) that was determined to see the light of day and did not want to grow up into my brain. Thank you for the misery I experienced in the spring - the kick in the ass that finally sent me to an ENT specialist. Thank you for my doctors and nurses and their level of expertise. Thank you for putting me in contact with other cancer patients to make me realize that what I am going through isn't so bad and giving me the strength and knowledge that I will make it through. Thank you for "other kicks" - you know what I am referring to. Next time you have a point to get across...can you please not use cancer to make it? Once in a lifetime is more than enough for me. Thanks!

Last but certainly not least, to my angels:

Thank you for being there for me and watching over me constantly.

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