Diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2005 and liver melanoma in 2013, Sam Lozier has been a CHN Support Volunteer since 2007. She is a champion of honesty, authenticity, kindness and patient rights. We are pleased to share this piece, first published on her blog You Can Handle The Truth.
“Is that the best you’ve got?” I wanted to scream into the shades of blue in Tulum. I could feel the sand slip between my toes and underneath the heels of my feet until nothing seemed to support them, as if I was suspended between little ripples of water. Each wave reminded me of a different choice, decision, path, obstacle and heartache in my life, and when I looked into the exposed space/shelter I thought “I will not let you push me down.” Wave after wave after wave hits the shore. And yet, I am the sky.
I dig my feet deep into the velvety sand, anchor my body in balance the best that I can, arms up and at my side, and wait for the next wave. I want to be mindful of every second. I want to feel the sun actually sink beyond that first layer of skin, warming my heart. I am scared of drowning. But I never ever want to forget that I am the sky.
I don’t want to anticipate that a big wave will approach; it is exhausting trying not to think of the future but also so tiring trying to stay in the present. I don’t want to anticipate it but sometimes I can see it. It’s miles off or it’s close, or sometimes I turn my back and get knocked over. And yet, I remember through the tenderness of the sand and the heat from the sun and the stillness of the meditation and the difficult stretches in yoga that each time I am able to stand upright and let the waves hit me and then pass, each time a wave knocks me down but I find my core, I will get up again. Because I am the sky.
Standing underneath this giant blue horizon, I finally understood just how much I wish to not be defeated. Because I still have so much more to do. So much love that still needs to live. I need to take care of you. I am the sky.
When Geralyn Lucas was getting her chemotherapy and her days were filled with needles and nausea she would say “I am the sky,” reminding herself that none of those awful things could stick to her… And now I say it too, beneath the sky itself. Now when I have to check my glucose levels I say it out loud as well, as the prick of the needle makes that little red circle of blood come to the surface on my already calloused fingers. I have just found out that I have treatment-induced diabetes, and life has changed once again. I was always thoughtful about my eating, but now I have to count carbs and make sure to have my pens with me and not go too long without eating and know what to do if my blood sugar gets too low (like it did while in Mexico; sweating, shaking, downing glucose tablets at 3 in the morning). Checking my levels with that damn glucose monitor that actually hurts more than the 3 doses of insulin that I must give myself every day. Another “thing to get through,” although there really is no “through it”– with any of this– there is only learning to live with it. But I tell myself through the anger and the confusion that these feelings of loss and sadness and betrayal cannot stick to me, because I am the sky.
Geralyn named her first-born “Skye,” even though they said that she could never have children. She is the sky. I am the sky. We are all the sky.
“Face it then fight it” has become my new motto (after a lot of swearing, eating chocolate– pre-diabetes– and crying tears that fall all over my steering wheel at red lights). The clouds are there, some days filled with rain and gloom and some days rays of sunshine and all kinds of the highs and lows just like life. I grieve–I am encouraged to do so which is a relief– and I try to face my fears through compassion and loving acceptance. I try. I think this is what matters. I also thank g-d and my lucky stars for things like doctors, treatment (I got the diabetes because of the treatment but the treatment could be– will be– saving my life), reiki, massages, yoga, green juice, coffee, gratitude confetti, naps, and the ocean. Yes, the ocean. Because of the waves I can do so much more than I ever thought that I could do. Isn’t that strange, how adversity gives you so much more of yourself because you can either sink or swim? It’s a double-edged sword; I would do anything not to have to navigate huge waves, but since I do, I am a different person than I was four years ago. I am the sky.
I go low– really low– because it is so unfair and so sad, and then I go high because I have to accept after grieving. I have to remember the blessings. I have to do both– cry and scream and be grateful because that is who I am. I feel good, bad, indifferent, numb, crumbling, rigid, loving, accepting, stable, inconsistent. I am human. I think of my friends and family and want to weep for how much unconditional love they have shown me. I can weep. I am still the sky.
Geralyn said it, and now so do I. No matter how many needles they stick in us, no matter what else happens, everything else is just the weather.
We are the sky.