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Picking Lilies

I picked Lily of the Valley today.  I walked through my garden and savored the moment.  I took in the breathtaking smell and thought about my year.  It was at this time last year that I was waiting on my PET and bone scan results.  I already knew I had breast cancer, now I would find out, through these tests, if it had spread anywhere else.

It was a difficult weekend.  I had my tests done late Thursday night, the night before Memorial weekend began.  Because of the holiday, I was told I wouldn’t receive my test results until Tuesday.  I was in for a long weekend.  I did my best to keep busy, trying desperately to stay in the moment.  So I did the unthinkable for me.  I weeded my garden.  Me, the woman who kills every plant within a 10 mile radius, was weeding.  Talk about desperate to keep my mind off things.  Bob and Riley were outside sitting at our dining table.  Their looks went from amazement to hilarity.  I was knee deep in the garden, the first time they’d seen me there. Yes, I said first time.   I don’t do gardening - ever.

I had already picked so many lilies of the valley our house was beginning to smell like a funeral home.  Bouquets were everywhere.  Since picking more flowers was out of the question, I started weeding.  I began to look at the weeds as cancer.  They were trying to infect my flowers.  Well to hell with that! I became a mad woman – lol!  Grabbing the offensive weeds and tugging with all my might.  Thinking in my head: “Take that you little bastard!”  I was obsessed with making sure every single weed was gone from the garden.  Bob kept trying to get me to stop, saying he would get it later.  That wasn’t happening on my watch!  I went at it with a vengeance.  I do wish I had listened when he told me to put on long pants as my legs were full of mosquito bites when I was done.  Nevertheless, I prevailed!  Every single weed was eradicated from the garden.  I felt like a superhero - I had saved the plants from the “cancer”.  I actually had a sense of peace when I was done.

So today, when I was out picking flowers, I embraced the moment.  The sun was out, everything was green, the air smelled like lilies, birds were chirping and there was peace.  I thought about that person waiting to hear the results a year ago.  Having no idea about what was really ahead, how tough it would be at times, how it would challenge me mentally, change my looks, the pain I would experience - all to treat my disease.

That person navigated her journey the best she could.  She did experience pain, sadness, and fear but more importantly, experienced joy, love and gratitude.  She met amazing angels along the way, felt love from friends, family, even strangers.  She learned not to sweat the small stuff and to appreciate the little things.  She learned she was stronger than she thought.  That attitude and gratitude is everything.  She truly learned that laughter is the best medicine.  She is humbled by the help and support from her incredible husband and children.   She feels incredibly blessed.

I’m in gratitude as I write this.  The storm is over.  I’ve come out on the other side.  It’s a sunny day, I got to pick Lilies and I’m cancer free.   Life is continuing to move forward and I get to move with it.  Another season is here and I get to embrace it.  Pure joy!


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