So it’s July and it’s one year since my life changed. This was the day my doctor told me my hemoglobin had crashed to 5.2 and I had to go to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Even then, I had no clue that my life would never be the same again. It took another six weeks till they found the 15 cm cancerous tumor on my left kidney. After my kidney was removed I had 3 months of blessed remission before I was re diagnosed – this time with stage 4 RCC, including metastases in my lungs.
What a year it has been, for me and my family.
Having cancer is not just a terrible disease. It’s not just a bunch of often painful and unpleasant symptoms. It’s not just about the fear of death, of getting worse, or how my children would manage if I left this world. It’s a lot more than that.
It’s about learning to see the world in a different way. There is no time in this life to argue or bear grudges because we never know how long we have to be healthy. It’s about being grateful for everything we have. For example, instead of feeling frustrated because I can no longer walk fast or far, I’m grateful that I can still walk.
It’s about seeing the beautiful side of other people – the friends who visit me and those who have given me so much love and support. You all know who you are.
It’s about the unconditional limitless love that my children give me as we support each other through this journey. There is also nothing more beautiful than watching my children reach out to each other and be a solid family. That’s all I ever wanted for them. They are such loving, caring souls.
Most of all, it’s about accepting that I am not in the driver’s seat. So far, this disease may have slowed but it has not stopped so I’ve had to start new treatment. I feel like the train is pulling away from the station and I don’t know where it will go. I will take the medicine and do all the tests etc but at the end of the day I’m just a passenger.
And I still have hope and pray that next year, this will just be a memory as I move on into a healthier life. Every day is a gift.
Naomi lost her battle to RCC in January of 2020. Her bright spirit lives on in the many lives that she touched.