The journey changes you, this much I know.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”  – Haruki Murakami

My daughter sent this to me during my very long medical journey and when I read it, I completely understood it. The journey, the storm – call it what you will – changes you.

I have always been a very strong, positive person. When you are strong for so long, at some point, the tears need to escape. That’s where I was finding myself these last few weeks. Not in a, “I am losing it and need to see a therapist” kind of way.

Rather, it’s little moments that creep in when I am laying in bed at night trying to fall asleep and my mind starts to wander. For some reason, I replay the events from these last few years in my head. All of the moments – the good, the bad, and the ugly – come to mind … like I am watching an old movie on the big screen.

Tears fall and I wonder how I survived. I mean, I didn’t lose a loved one or anything like that, but man, these were tough years!

Having things go wrong time after time is exhausting. At some point, the stress of it all comes crashing down and you need to exhale the past and embrace the now. I am working on how to keep the doubt at bay and not worry when I have an ache or pain. My gut instincts have been spot on, so that is what I need to trust.

What I will say is that when I reflect on this time in my life, I have far more happy, thankful and grateful moments than anything else. The people who have come into my life are a blessing. My family and friends who showed such compassion have touched my heart in a very big way.

As the stress starts to dissipate, and the huge burden seems to get smaller, I realize that it’s okay to release the emotions that have been bottled up for so long.

There are moments when I reach a goal in PT and I just start crying.  Happy tears, not sad or ugly ones. Each new goal attained feels like a huge victory, and the heaviness of the journey starts to lessen a bit.

I have never really been an overly emotional person. In my opinion, I hold it together pretty well through life’s ups and downs. When you have been on an emotional rollercoaster for so long, it’s only natural to want to get off the ride. The feeling of always waiting for the other shoe to drop is tiring and a complete waste of time, yet it’s there like a bad dream.

Just this week I thought something was wrong with my foot and I thought, “oh boy, here-we-go-again!” I found myself getting so disappointed and annoyed because I have been doing so well in PT, making great strides, and here I was thinking the other shoe was dropping. Of course, I headed to Boston to see my surgeon, and all is fine!

It will be fantastic when I can finally get to a place where the worry isn’t in the back of my mind. When that will happen, I have no idea, but I am confident it will come!

The journey … it changes you. I am not the same person I was before breaking my leg. There may be moments of doubt or concern; wondering; waiting for something to happen, but I will continue to move forward. I will always remind myself of how far I have come and how far I will go to reach my goals.

This journey has reminded me of how fortunate I am to have survived Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer as a teenager and how strong and resilient I truly am.

Resilient. That’s what I am. This awareness-this knowing-is a beautiful thing.

What has your journey taught you?

Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.