If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve had considerable challenges in the past couple of years. I thought that I was venturing into a period of respite, but alas, it turns out that I have yet another challenge ahead of me.
I’ve had a mole on the inside of my 4th toe on my left foot for as long as I can remember, but in the past year, I’ve noticed it growing and darkening. When I got my new job, and along with it, good insurance, I finally visited a dermatologist. He cut off the mole right then and there and had it biopsied. It was a month before I got the results. I was standing in the hallway waiting for the elevator after a long work day when I got the call.
As funky as the mole had looked, I wasn’t worried. There isn’t one person in my family who has had cancer and I’ve always been super healthy. But I guess that’s how it works with cancer, isn’t it?
I was told to get an appointment with an surgeon ASAP. When I met with a surgeon at the UC Irvine Melanoma Center, she gave me some good news and bad news. The good news is that it’s Stage 1. I caught it early. There’s very little chance that it will spread. The bad news is that she recommends having my toe amputated. I can keep my toe, if I really want, but it will result in a toe that is badly deformed and a skin graft that may or may not take.
I sat in that surgeon’s office and broke down in uncontrollable sobs. I desperately tried to pull it together, but failed. “You seem really upset about this,” the surgeon observed as she glanced at her watch. Is it unusual for me to be upset about having an appendage amputated? Do others take such news with nonchalance? Yes, it’s only a toe, but I’m kinda attached to it! I live in Southern California and wear flip flops and cute open-toed heels 12 months out of the year. I was a dancer and ballerina most of my childhood. My toes came in really handy when dancing The Nutcracker.
I left her office in a daze. My mind was splintering between energy Level 6 - there is no good or bad, only experiences – and Level 1 – why me, life sucks (these levels are from the Energy Leadership Index Assessment. Click here to learn more). I allowed myself to hang out in a Level 1 that night. I cried and cried, months of pent up tears and stress flowing endlessly.
After the tears dried, I was left feeling grateful. I was grateful for my good insurance. Grateful that I caught it early. Grateful that it was only my toe. Grateful for my little toe and all the good times we’ve had together. Grateful that I was going to be okay. I know that there are many people who aren’t so fortunate.
I guess I’m not surprised that I have cancer on my foot. Louise Hay, in her book, You Can Heal Your Life, says that the reason behind foot problems is the inability to move forward in life and instability. Yep. Sounds about right. The mind is sure a powerful thing, isn’t it?
So once again, I’m faced with a choice. I can choose to become a victim to my circumstances and to feel sorry for myself. Or I can choose to see this as one more challenge in life to overcome.
In past blogs, I’ve talked about how I believe we are born with a blueprint for certain experiences our soul wants to have in this lifetime. Within that blueprint, we also have choice points as to how we will handle those experiences. Ultimately, it’s up to us. Some people use difficult challenges in life to spiral into depression. Some people allow anger and resentment to consume them, blaming others for their horrible lot in life. Others become the victim, using it as an excuse for just about everything.
No matter how bad circumstances are, we always have the ability to choose how we want to respond. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t feel like we can choose. When we're faced with a situation that feels impossible to get past, it can feel as if there is no other choice but to be in that place of misery. How could you not be miserable when a toe has to be amputated or worse? How could you not be miserable when your spouse just died or when you just lost your job or you’re sick or broke?
But we do. We always have the choice. When we cultivate the courage to perceive life from a Level 6 point of view – where there is no judgment of experiences and, therefore, no good or bad – we are free to move through each experience as a boat would weather a storm. Eventually calm will come once more.
So here’s my plan…
I’m going to take a deep breath. I’m going to take one step at a time (even if it’s on crutches). I’m going to stay in a place of love and gratitude for everything that I have in my life - my daughter, my friends, my boyfriend, my job, my home. I’m going to spend more time sending love and gratitude to my body for all its hard work. I’m going to spend more time in meditation and more time outdoors. This is one more opportunity for me to overcome a challenge and cultivate strength.
Love and Light,
P.S. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible for us to change our perspective when we’re so deep in the muck we can’t see anything else. That’s where I can help. As a coach, I’m trained to help others reframe their circumstances and discover they have the power within to make their lives better. I coach in the evenings and weekends, so send me an email and let’s set up a session for you. Why wait any longer?