I have been asking myself a lot lately, “Who Am I?”
I am currently a cancer patient, but I did not always have cancer, but cancer literally stopped everything from happening in my world and so the question comes up frequently for me. Who am I and who am I without the roles I play in life? I could say that I am a social worker, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a friend and generally a good hearted person, but it still doesn’t answer, “Who am I?” because those titles are only part of my identity. The answer is not just in the outside world, Its somewhere inside me. So, to look for the answer, I write. I meditate, I seek.
I have always been a relatively healthy person, faced only with vision, dental, digestive problems, and just minor issues until I developed a persistent discomfort that finally made it necessary to investigate. While going through tests, my energy became depleted, hives just popped up, itched like crazy and then just disappeared, night sweats, and other unusual symptoms came and went and kept me preoccupied. It took over 6 months for a definitive diagnosis to be determined. My husband and I were stunned even though the tests were obviously leading us in that direction. It took so long to get to this place but in a moment my world changed when I was diagnosed with Angioimmunoblastic T Cell Lymphoma.
Treatment began the same time as Covid 19 took over the world, so I am home. For the first time in my life, I have absolutely nothing to do except to get better and watch the world go on from my living room window and from the TV screen.
Pre-Cancer and Covid 19 I was a social worker enjoying my role in life as a mental health professional. I received a lot of personal satisfaction in being a helping professional. I believe I helped hundreds of people in my career, so when my world stopped, I began to wonder who am I without being a helper?
Being home and unoccupied, I find myself remembering different events in my life, but remembering them without the heavy-hearted pain I initially experienced. I am seeing many life events with a different perspective that I am eager to explore. I find myself looking for answers and life lessons in both the best and worst circumstances in my life. I am finding that cancer feels like a transition in my life from who I was to who I will be, but it seems like just being a person with cancer is making that happen. Being in treatment and being home is like a worm in its’ cocoon transitioning into a butterfly. My mother loved butterflies and I am loving it as a metaphor for my life right now.
So, I started to write about different thoughts and insights I have been having about my life, about the world I live in and the still unanswered question of who am I? Destined to being a helper, my desire is to share my stories, insights and revelations with you in the hope it may inspire you to ask yourself questions, seek answers and share them with all of us who read my blog because we can all inspire each other to learn and grow. I am seeing that what we think is the worst possible thing that could happen to us, could also be a huge transition that could bring about compassion and understanding. Please share this blog with anyone who you think may be interested, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Marilyn Zagha Keeshan