normalWhat is normal? If a loved one is battling cancer or any other big disease, you don’t want to miss this post, because the insights you’ll get are invaluable.

My friend, the poet Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg, was diagnosed with breast cancer a while back. And as she is one of my most beloved Facebook friends, I followed her journey the whole way. She’s honest about the experience and so I asked her to share what this journey has been like for her. As an amazing poet, she gives us the honest truth, the human truth, the beautiful truth.

Post-normal, What is normal anyway? I used to walk at a fast pace, feeling the movement of my body, exhilarating, elliptical, sensation of true exercise. My legs felt long and lean.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, at first I was numb, I didn’t know exactly how to feel. I became a mind and body tenacious warrior, ready to fight what was attacking my body. I aggressively prepared my body for what it was facing. I stopped eating all white sugar and processed foods. I charted, cataloged, got binders of information, preparing myself for surgery. My inner spirit went in with a fierceness yet becoming a compassionate being embracing myself with love. I had a circle of family and friends supporting me.

I knew exactly what I was wearing when I came home from the hospital after surgery. A pair of comfortable pajamas my best friend Denise bought for me, ready to relax and heal. I was sitting up eating crackers and drinking water when my family walk into my room after surgery. They couldn’t believe how well I looked.

Next was preparing for chemo and radiation. I had my fair share of hitting the wall, including being hospitalized for a low white blood cell count. Nothing really prepared me for post cancer. The scar tissue pain, lymphedema, and then came the joint pain, fatigue and yes, depression and PTSD.

Facebook is a funny thing, I always find the parallel side of me, the one that leans into grace and light and finds my joy in the small and precious moments. Thing is, people take that lovely smiling picture of me and come to a conclusion that I look so good and healthy. My heart rate races with catching for air when I walk fast. It’s a huge chore to clean my house I have to do it in spurts, or I become completely exhausted, but mainly I want to give up. Even taking a shower is a chore.

I am a woman with shortcomings, that I am often critical of, and wonder if others are critical of me. I remember me, and now I am ready to accept the new me. I want to soar with my passion, my writing, my light journey, but my physical being just has to do it at a new pace now. I have to accept me for me, holding myself in a sanctuary of gentleness and compassionate pause. Allow yourself to do the same.
by Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg ©


Image: Kristina Laurendi Havens

The Distance Reached
beauty of my body,
beauty of my soul-
human has its limits,
life spinning life out of control-
the distance reached,
journey spirals through me-
I now shift to stop suddenly upon my path,
out of my body I drift above me-
floating looking down,
I embrace my being-
truth of life spilling out of me,
what now becomes apart of me-
what houses itself inside of me,
brings me to the moment of my scream-
coming down from my cloud now,
I settle upon the tiny universe of me-
what now tries to ravage me,
will not take my soul-
the distance reached,
I now become my power-
folding into the deep of me,
the movement of love-
embraces the whole of me,
now treading the path-
of the many shes,
splitting me open wide-
I finding myself collide,
to what is being delivered to me-
but then I saw you there with me,
sweet kindred trembling she-
my pain is now yours, yours is now mine,
the tears that now spill on our tender embracing-
will bring us to the distance,
our howl, our ache, now our fight-
what now becomes our battle cry,
to remain resilient, vibrant, passionate for our lives.
Author Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg ©

Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg is the author of Seasons of the Soul: Transitions and Shifts of Life and a prolific poetess. Maureen’s draws from her human experiences, touching many with her words. She has been published in several poetry anthologies and has her own Facebook page –Heart’s Calling– where she  reaches over 4,000 regular readers. Maureen hosts monthly, sacred creative writing circles for women and recites her poetry at many local events. She has 3 adult children and currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

Visit her website for more.  Buy her beautiful poetry book. And here’s her Facebook page.

%d bloggers like this: