On a gray October day in 2013 our world came crashing down around us as we stood in surgery waiting at Peace Health Hospital and were told that our beautiful 20 year old daughter had been diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer. The journey since that time, through treatment and a long recovery has been devastating and raw as well as trans-formative and beautiful. On that day, all of our lives changed forever and what we didn't know at the time is not only how much hard stuff lay ahead but also that it was all for the best.
This past week marked the 4 year anniversary of this diagnosis. Post treatment our daughter has completed her bachelor degree at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, participated in a wilderness expedition for young adult cancer survivors, completed a month long National Outdoor Leadership course and spent 6 months leading kayak trips in the fjords of Norway. Now she is home with us in Oregon figuring out her next move and almost 4 years after completing treatment, finally coming to some terms with the these last four years, the good, the bad and the oh so difficult. Below is a post she wrote on that anniversary day and to us expresses so beautifully and honestly what a long road healing can be.
Healing is Not Linear by Grace Carosio
my 4 year "cancerversary" this post goes out to ALL the young people
who know what it's like to have their vitality and youth threatened,
whether from illness both visible and invisible, chronic and acute, life
threatening or not, from trauma and PTSD and anxiety and mental illness
and addictions and anything else that prevents us from feeling as
healthy as a twenty something "should" be.
Healing and recovery is hard. It's messy. It doesn't look like the personal growth montages we see in the movies. It can look like blood sweat and tears and clawing yourself up from impossible situations only to be knocked down again. It's not linear, it's a process, and it can be a fucking roller coaster. Some days you feel like you're on top of the world and some days like you're right back where you started from. In the end all you can do is accept that YOU ARE HEALING in your own way and at your own pace and love yourself through it all.
So here's to living at home and crazy Saturday nights organizing my parents cabinets, to hours of research hoping to find that ONE supplement that just might make everything better, to sobriety and rest and healthy food. To finally coming to terms with the fact that I can't have as much beer and pizza as everyone else can and knowing I should just get over it ... and to realizing that probably the solution to everything is to just dance more. Here's to feeling like a beautiful disaster and most importantly to self love and never ever giving up on yourself. 💜