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Rome-A year after diagnosis March 28th, 2013

June 8, 2013

cypress treesSitting here on the train back to Rome after an incredible journey to Verona and Florence. I am watching the hills of Tuscany pass me by as the sun shines through the clouds and warms my face through the window of the train. The cypress trees stand strong and tall, pointing towards the heavens. Unwavering, no matter how hard the winds blow. This place, these experiences, these memories I have here… I spent four years at home in this country, four years trying to soak up all the beauty and warmth of Italian life. The simple yet complex world of Italy. During my years here, I learned many things about life, about love, about strength, about me. The one most important lesson I learned while living here was to take a moment every day, look around and just breathe….breathe in the incredible beauty of life and thank God for the opportunity to live it. Life is full of extraordinary simplicities, yet we often move to fast to notice them.

A year ago this week I was waiting for the results of my first colonoscopy….no idea what was lying ahead, yet knowing deep down my body and my spirit were about to travel a path that would not be easy. When I left Rome that April, I was still unaware how advanced my cancer was. When I returned last June, I arrived knowing that all my doctors believed I had less than a year to live. After that trip, I did not know if I would ever again see the beauty of this country with my own eyes. Now, I have outlived their predictions and I feel blessed to be able to see all this beauty once again. I close my eyes, marvel at the darkness, then reopen my eyes and thank God for the light.
There is a part of me that is attempting to believe this part of my life journey is complete. As if it has all come full circle. Yet things can not come full circle when so much has changed. After every journey, there are parts of us that are affected… We learn something new, we lose something along the way, and sometimes, we are forever changed by the experiences we have had.

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