Articles, Blog

TIMB Boise 2019 – Kayla Collins

December 7, 2019

I remember the day I found out I was dying kind of like yesterday as He said things like I’m sorry You should call someone I stood and ran from the room Out the doors down the stairs to the grassy knoll where I kicked off my shoes and placed my feet in the grass as I looked up I heard my soul whisper, “This is your journey and your journey alone.” Within a few moments I realized that cancer was going to kill me and I wouldn’t have to No one would have to find me. No questions would be asked. There would be no shame. My children would never wonder why they weren’t enough and my family would be left without the stigma of suicide. A shift happened however, within that moment and I unknowingly stepped into the driver’s seat of my life. All of a sudden every moment mattered and I embraced life in a way that I never experienced before and I motioned through my days with intent and Compassion and passion that I had never felt. All of the petty things that were in the way fell by the sides because when you’re dying, it’s easy to see what’s important. My depression had lifted and my anxiety was near non-existent during this time through daily seizures, meds, treatments, memory loss And more pain than I never thought I’d experience there was happiness at the end of each day. I was a walking bumper sticker on how to live life positively without regrets. I became happy and I’m not even really sure when it had happened, but I had unknowingly fallen in love with life and I no longer wanted to die I truly wanted to continue to live this amazing experience. So while the doctors were telling me to ready my plans and funeral arrangements were being made My partner and I dared to dream of a continuous life and then one day What was impossible yesterday became possible? And I walked out of a facility cured What an incredible gift was given back in that moment to continue to live and Just the joy of a second chance of this However, ever so quietly the expectations started to creep back in No fun to be had work work work save save save, and all of life’s expectations started to riddle back in My time didn’t seem so special all of a sudden and I suddenly found myself anxiously under my husband’s desk Trying to breathe. I Suddenly was resenting the cure. I was supposed to be dead. These kids were not supposed to turn into teenagers on me. I wasn’t supposed to have to go through this life. I wasn’t supposed to see my parents age and I definitely wasn’t supposed to have to work a full-time job. I was supposed to be dead and this was supposed to be taken care of. Why was I being punished? What did I do to deserve this? These are the things most people say when they find out they have cancer and I was saying them after the cure. My head filled with my heartbeat and The anxiety crept back in. If you’ve never experienced anxiety I Want you to give a second and close your eyes I’m going to give you a visual You’re a mouse out for your nightly dinner and you wander upon a feast You’re settling in like any other day when all of a sudden *Snap* every muscle in your body cramps down And you can’t seem to catch a breath and you will do anything say anything to Get out of this feeling to just escape for a moment, but there’s nothing to be done You would chew off an arm if you could only get to it That’s kind of how anxiety feels for me Everyone that had heard my story was saying things like You’re a gift from God. You’re a miracle. You are the luckiest woman alive. How do you tell someone that thinks you’re a gift from God that you are more anxious depressed and confused than ever before. You don’t. You crawl underneath your husband’s desk and Stay there While having yet another anxiety attack an Unfamiliar calm set in and that same whisper from the day in the grass reapproached. “This is my journey and my journey alone.” The only thing that had changed after my cure was the possibility of growing to 105. Instead of dying of illness. However, what hadn’t changed is that I could die in five minutes in an accident. This life was not punishing me. This life was conspiring for me and I am the author of this story and it was time for an epic sequel. This time I stepped out of the passenger seat, pulled fear from the driver’s seat and sat Firmly down putting my hands at ten and two for the first time in my driving career. I started sharing my story one post at a time. Anything that brought me fear anything that brought me shame I shared loud and proud. Every disclosure and Truth I published I became lighter. My misdeeds, my rape, my want for another child, depression, My body’s endless recovery from rounds of radiation. They say the truth will set you free. The truth did more than set me free. It gave me wings. What amazed me even more was that my horribly written disclosures were met with connection and compassion and Willingness as strangers and friends and Family flooded my inbox we connected on a way that was beyond anything I had expected. While we were sharing our stories I found that we were healing our deepest pains. I realized that what we craved more than anything was vulnerability the real stories not the highlight reels and That we wanted a connection beyond the pleasantries Everyone wanted to know that they were not alone in life’s darkest hours and That they had someone there for those epic battles. While all the stories are different the emotions were all the same: pain, joy, fear, excitement. They all ran those stories. So even though in moments where I couldn’t connect with the story, I could connect with how they were feeling. I’m often asked what I’ve learned through this journey. I believe I lived so that I could tell you that no one writes your story and no one can predict your outcome. What is impossible today is more than possible tomorrow. Our minds are so powerful. What we believe at our core becomes our reality, so Dream big, my friends, so big that they become real. Choose love. Time is the great unknown. Treasure it like you would your best possessions. Close your eyes once more. You are worthy of an exceptional life. you are enough. You are amazing . You are perfectly imperfect and that is what makes you perfect. You are the author of your story. Stop looking for yourself and start writing out the person that you want to be and you are so very loved. Thank you for spending this time with me.

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