Post by Sam Lozier, Cancer Hope Network Support Volunteer
Hear more from Sam at her blog You Can Handle The Truth.

The Year

2015 brought some miracles, for sure: In fact, this was the year that I saw Kris and Gabby speak in NYC during their “Crazy Sexy Miracles” event and began to understand exactly what a miracle is (all along I had been looking for something very particular in the miracles category when it hit me—a miracle can be a shift in perception!).

This was the year that Kris and I had the most raw, beautiful, deep, funny, spirited, vulnerable conversation (in front of 300 people at the Chopra Center).   That alone would have made it a superstar year.  But it was also the year that I got to participate in the Journey into Healing workshop out in California with my best friend M, a dream come true for the both of us: Sunrise yoga, chanting my very own primordial meditation, and actually being in a room with Deepak Chopra, among many other amazing people.  It was the year that I must have said “Can you believe that I drink green juices?” nine million times, and the year that I started working out on a consistent basis and finally figured out that what I had heard all along is actually true:  It’s good not just for your body, but your mind, too.

It was also, and this is the biggest blessing, the year that I didn’t have to have any treatment. All of my scans were clean, thank g-d!  It was the year that I thought about this constantly and held my breath and didn’t want to jinx anything, but felt so grateful for this that if I wasn’t such a superstitious person, I would have thrown a party.  Alas, I border on crazy when it comes to superstitions and jinxes and magical thinking, so I’m not even going to clink glasses on this one.  Just knock on wood and let’s move on…

It was the year that I tried to release at least some of the magical thinking. Holding some of it close for safe keeping, but also doing my best to get clear with the universe about what I want.  The year that I admitted that it is OK to want.  (Actually, that’s still hard to admit).

It was also the year of some tough times, too. Kidney stones and a stomach problem added to the anxiety because when you have cancer and you don’t feel well, you worry that everything is a something.  It was the year that things got scary with my eye when I had to go to Mass Eye and Ear suddenly throwing up and holding my head, the year that something “very small” but “unidentifiable” was found in my liver.  It was the year that I fell apart.  The year that I put myself back together again.  It was the year that I realized that I am now almost completely blind in my left eye.

This was the year that I had an idea I was able to see to fruition when I started a company-wide lifestyle blog based on health and wellness, and the year when this blog that you’re reading really felt like it grew roots.

It was the year that I saw the sun rise over Haleakala in Maui.  The year that my camp friends and I started a going-away-girls-weekend tradition.  The year that SHL and I re-lived the best day of our lives on Cape Cod, celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary.

It was the year that I realized it’s not crazy to sing Broadway show tunes in the car and throughout the house (and OK, a little bit at work), it’s crazy not to (that’s just how much I enjoy it!).

This was the year that we lost Teddy, our beloved sweet and cuddly cat, and grief spread through every limb in our body, crushing our hearts. It was the year that I was reminded that a pet truly captures your heart and embeds itself into your family in the best of ways.

It was the year that we brought Reesie, our mischievous kitten, home and the year that we had to kitty-proof our house and tie up our curtains and close our bathroom doors (because her favorite thing is to rummage through our trash can and find the floss and the q-tips and drag each around the house, chewing them because well what else would you do with it?).

It was the year that my best friend A’s kids slept on the floor of my room while I was visiting in sleeping bags, melting my heart into big Sam Auntie puddles.

It was the year that I cared for my nephew M while his parents were away and I got to really see what being a Mom would be like: Checking every label, washing behind his ears, reading bedtime stories and soothing when he was upset, praising him for a good catch in the backyard and cutting his PB&J sandwiches into squares because I know he likes it that way (just like I did when I was a kid), and letting him eat just one more cookie because hey, I’m an Auntie, and isn’t that what Auntie’s do?

It was the year that I embraced vulnerability and leaned in and said, “Yes, please take care of me.” The year that I admitted that I wasn’t sure that I could handle any of this.  And the year that I then did just that (handled it.  Most of the time.  And the rest of the time recognized that I don’t have to be able to handle everything so smoothly all of the time).

It was the year of trying to look at myself in the mirror with something that didn’t resemble a mean girl, to not compare myself with others, to not feel like I need to look a certain way or be a certain way to be happy (aren’t we women, especially, taught that if we’re not thin/pretty/young enough something is “wrong?”  Surely we can’t be happy?).

It was the year of living my truth.

It was the year that Kris’ husband Brian read my blog post about her impact on my world and I got to share with those who wanted to feel it just how much of a difference one person can make.

It was the year that I realized just how truly torn I am about not having children. The year that I admitted that it may be my biggest regret in life, and the year that I admitted to myself that if I’m being honest, I actually maybe don’t really want to have children after all.  The year that I felt selfish for feeling so free with SHL, not having any kids.  The year that I realized these comments will make some very uncomfortable, and others say, “Whew.  Just like Brene Brown teaches us, she’s trying to move past the shame of feeling like something is inherently wrong with her—can’t physically have children; maybe doesn’t want children (shouldn’t everybody want children?)–, and therefore, cut off shame at the legs and move on.”

It was the year that I realized that cancer may or may not always tie me down in some ways, and that maybe, in lots of other ways, I really just want to be free.

My Hopes

My hopes and dreams for 2016, I think, could blossom with barely any water, that’s how at the surface and ready to pop they are. At the heart of everything is the I hope that I won’t need any treatment, that my cancer stays stable, that I feel and am healthy.

But just as important to me are my family and friends, and I pray that you are healthy, too. And happy.  That you find joy in the smallest and the biggest things.  That you remember what it’s really all about (whatever “it” means to you).  That you talk to yourself in those quiet moments when nobody else is around the way that you would talk to your best friend—with love, empathy, and a sense of humor.

I ask the universe to help me find a life that’s more balanced. Less time feeling like I’m just “plugging away,” and more time “plugging in” to those that I love and connecting with those who remind me that I am not just alive, I am living.  I ask for the opportunity to expand my writing to reach even more people; to help as many people as I possibly can in whatever way I possibly can.  To remind those who are fighting anything, we can dwell together in possibility.  We can rest here and dream here and wish here and remember, together, that possibility is where hope lives.

I wish for the chance to get up and speak to whoever will listen about how doctors can interact more humanly with their patients, and how patients can advocate more patiently for themselves. I ask for the occasion to be able to let the world see my light.

I crave the gift of travel; to be able to continue seeing the world not through anybody else’s eyes but my own. To understand the world in a way that you really only can when you travel.  To eat new delicacies and see new architecture and meet people that you would never otherwise meet and feel the air in a different part of the world (yes, it feels differently depending upon where you are).  Oh how I dream of seeing every nook and cranny of this big, beautiful world.

I wish for us to see things with compassion. I wish for the fear to, if not disappear, not overtake our lives.  So hard when we see the world spinning madly out of control.  I wish that we hold on tight to each other.

Wishing each and every one of you a very happy and healthy New Year with unicorn sightings to remind you that you are unique, green juices (or smoothies!) to give you strength, crystals to heal you, meditations to soothe your busy brains, mantras to give you good energy, and a little bit of peace and quiet to remember that it is within that space we are all perfect, just as we are.  xoxo.