THE TOWER – What my husband’s cancer diagnosis taught us about perspective
This is a guest blog from an old friend who shares how her husband’s recent cancer diagnosis changed his and their perspective about life. This is so well written and insightful. If you are experiencing any challenge, health or otherwise, this will be sure to inspire you.
The practice of Tarot is a centuries old way of using archetypal images on cards for divination purposes and spiritual guidance. The Tower card in a tarot deck represents major upheaval and sudden change, like it or not. And, the blessings it offers from its turmoil are profound revelations. As long as you can get there!
This is what I thought of when my husband received his cancer diagnosis 3 months ago.
At that time, we were experiencing a host of other personal and professional issues exacerbated by COVID. But you know what? After that diagnosis, none of it mattered anymore.
Why does it happen that way? Why do we need bad news of epic proportions to reset our life perspective? Things that had been irritating me about our life together for months, suddenly dropped away completely when the word “cancer” was uttered by the doctors. I almost felt silly for letting all of the petty grievances build up to such a level in the first place. I’ve since come to learn that nothing about any of this is silly or petty.
The flurry of activity and emotions in the weeks following his diagnosis were all over the place. My husband is young (51) and healthy. This doesn’t make sense. We were both mentally and physically exhausted. Unable to sleep well, unable to eat well, intermittent random moments of needing to cry or scream into a pillow became the norm. I was scared and my mind went to the dark places, to the worst scenarios. Running on empty. Hurry up and wait. There was always a sense of urgency around each test and appointment. Then the excruciating wait time between each. The outlook was grim. We were living in a completely different world such a short time ago, and now this. What do we do? What can we do?
When life gets upended we can do a couple of things. We can freak out, disintegrate and become the victim and only ask WHY ME? And OF COURSE THIS IS MY LIFE! We can live in denial and become separated from our emotional and spiritual bodies, experiencing pure lack of joy or gratitude in our life; or, we can do those things AND ultimately realize that there isn’t a single thing that happens to us in life that we can’t use as an opportunity. We can make our own lives have a deeper meaning, and create stronger connections within ourselves and with others.
I think the most significant impact for us and for our family of my husband’s diagnosis is the transformative power it has had on my husband. I’ve seen parts of him emerge that represent the true archetype of the Warrior. He has complete and total ownership of his cancer, not the other way around. He was given the news, paused, and then got to it. His stress levels dropped- practically disappeared, he’s more patient and present with our young kids, he listens to his heart and lives much more soulfully. He’s still exercising almost every day.
It’s like he has a working relationship with his cancer. He talks to it: “I love you, but you can’t stay here.” He approaches his healing with love, an open mind, and thoughtful decisiveness. There isn’t anger, or resentment or blame. He isn’t screaming F$CK CANCER from the roof tops. He’s not asking “why me.” This is his journey, and his alone.
Now, of course there is a journey for all who love him as well, but maybe another perspective is, what has his cancer taught them? What has it taught me? I see this unfolding as a Venn diagram; his journey with cancer, my journey with a husband who has cancer, and how we walk that path together. All sections are important, all journeys matter. Ownership, however, belongs to my husband, the Warrior. And how the quality of his healing progresses is largely up to him, as he resets his mind and moves forward with his decisions for his body.He approaches his healing with love, an open mind, and thoughtful decisiveness. Click To Tweet
Because of COVID, I have not been allowed to go with him to any appointments, no chemo sessions, nothing. My first opportunity to do so is next week for an important scan read. I think that whatever force or energy that created this cancer in him, also set it up in a way where this would be the case. Is this where I say the Warrior Walks Alone? No, it’s not, because no one ever truly walks alone. But there is something to be said about the environment in which he has had to navigate this on his own, with his doctors, without me. This rumination makes me feel comforted and anxious all at the same time.
I am a woman of strong faith and conviction who believes in the power and profundity of the universe. My belief system doesn’t think coincidences are coincidences. And, truth be told, no one knows how this will all turn out. And we have to be OK with that. But what I DO know is that how these paths are traversed going forward will make all the difference in the quality and expansive gift of life we are given, every day.
I don’t like to think about time wasted, or regrets. To be candid, I don’t think that’s how life is meant to be viewed anyway. I think we are always given opportunities to choose how a path can look for us, and it’s never too late to alter the landscape. I truly believe this, especially as a “late bloomer” myself who has made many mistakes. I don’t know what else life will bring. But whatever it is, I am inspired by my Warrior husband who has inspired the Warrior in me.
The end of April marks the end of the end of the third month navigating this new, ever changing dynamic. In numerology, 3 marks the end of a first phase of something, the first culmination of a larger project, endeavor, or journey. So as I take stock of what has been in the last 3 months, this first phase of culmination on this journey with my husband and my family, I see upheaval and change, with profound revelations, and a renewed commitment to living from a place of love and soulful purpose. The next phase of culmination of this life of ours begins now. And, so far, what I see, is my husband walking bravely on his path, I on mine, and both of us on ours together.
Julie Humphreys is a Shamanic Healing Practitioner, Intuitive Medium, Herbalist, Reiki Master, Tarot and Oracle Card Professional, Teacher, and Writer. She draws from her rich toolbox of healing modalities to leave you feeling clear, connected and loved. As a light-worker and healer, Julie offers insight and guidance for your spiritual wellness needs. Her favorite medicine, however, is humor! Please visit her website at JulieHumphreys.com