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“I’m Vulnerable!

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Every couple of days I hear about someone I know who has cancer or who is going through chemo or radiation because of cancer. Fortunately, 19 years ago I had my prostate removed and I have been cancer free ever since. Unfortunately, I know so many people who struggle with cancer for years. 

Here is a selection from Now That I Have Cancer I Am Whole, Reflections on Life and Healing For Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them by John Robert McFarland:

Now That I Have Cancer……I’m Vulnerable

And I want to take advantage of that vulnerability. I want to keep on being the new me.

Maybe I’ll slide back with time. Perhaps my footprints on the sands of time won’t be so crisp, so nicely edged, but instead will show the crumbling pattern of one who slips back with each step almost as far as he strides. Maybe I’ll go back to shaking hands instead of hugging. Maybe I’ll fall back to choking off the tears instead of letting them flow. Maybe I’ll want to be “strong” again instead of open. 

I don’t want to backslide. I don’t want to wall off instead of weep out, but I know it can happen. When my chemotherapy is over, and the cards and letters stop, and I have passed my five-year test and can eat colored food again, what happens if I become the old, “strong” me again?

“Strong” isn’t bad. It isn’t everything either.

I like the new me, who weeps to see the little neighbor girl ride her bright pink bike, just because a healthy child in motion is such a beautiful sight. 

I like the me who surprises men in gray suits with a big hug. It’s a wonderful sight, two men in pinstripes, trying to figure out what to do with their briefcases while they attempt a hug – good laughter therapy if nothing else. 

I like the me who talks to trees to let them know how well they are doing and how good they are looking. 

I like the me who sings prayers, and laughs at silliness, and hopes all the time, without even knowing it, because it’s so much a part of me. 

I like the me who wakes up in the morning joyful that there is so much to do instead of burdened because there is so much to do. 

I like the me who welcomes pain as a friend because it reminds me that I am alive.

I like the me who isn’t bothered by the chaos of my desk but covers it over with the sure knowledge of what is important and what is not.

I like the me who trusts the spirit more than the calendar and date books and lists and planners.

I’ve always had the cool, silent determined courage of strength. Now I have the warm, bubbling, winging courage of weakness as well. 

So I pray, “Let me grow, in both health and illness, into the new me. Let me be worthy of the new me. Let me be thankful of the old me – for the old me was a gift, too – but keep me vulnerable. Let every part of me move toward the whole me.” 

Now that I have cancer, I’m vulnerable, and scared, and glad.

By John Robert McFarland

How have these words challenged YOUR attitudes and beliefs about someone with cancer? 

What will it take for YOU to feel like a “New Me” who weeps to see the little neighbor girl ride her bright pink bike, just because a healthy child in motion is such a beautiful sight?


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