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The Power of Ten

by Suzanne Lindley

Inspiration image I once dreamed of seeing both of my daughters graduate from high school. I wished, I prayed, and I hoped, but I never fully expected to witness it first hand. I’ve now watched them both walk across the stage and even head off to college. Both of these kids are full of life with dreams and goals of their own. I am reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “A well-loved child will spread love into the world to the power of ten. A well-loved child will contribute talent, time, and service to the world, and aspire to make it a better place.” I have no doubt that is exactly what my children will do.

I’ve focused so much of my life around this time that I’ve not looked much past it. Now it is time for me to create new plans. The first new milestone has come, as September marked my ten year anniversary with colon cancer.

The power of ten years on a roller coaster ride with so many twists and turns, ups and downs, and bumps and jolts is enormous. I have experienced exhilaration and frustration, magic and dread, low points and high ones, fear and hope. I’ve learned to manage the apprehension of scanxiety, ignore pain, push through negative news, allow the surreal to become natural, and navigate the maze of life with cancer.

Miracles and magic live in every moment … colon cancer or not.

I’m proud of my family and the way that we’ve handled each step. Amidst circumstances that have been filled with uncertainty and angst, we’ve conquered and excelled. Looking back, I’m amazed by the path that’s been blazed. There have been blood clots and infections, surgeries and transfusions, chemo and radiation, out-of-the-box treatments, and last ditch efforts. The past ten years have been marked by the promise of new cocktails and the continual hope of a cure.

Each new treatment has been a stepping stone to the next. With each stone, we’ve stood a little taller and stepped a little farther. Surrounding these stones have been the ripples of life. Together, we’ve discovered that miracles and magic live in every moment… colon cancer or not. They are the power that a decade of cancer provides.

Here’s hoping that the next decade holds a cure. To the power of ten.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, March/April 2009.