My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

“There is a reason everything happens”

on June 7, 2012

“There is a reason everything happens.”

I read that a couple of weeks ago in a very interesting and thought-provoking blog called The Book of Eames written by Nick Eames. Nick quite eloquently explains the difference between the old “everything happens for a reason” and “there is a reason everything happens”, and why the latter is so much better. I would highly recommend everyone give his blog a good read. He makes a lot of sense. And reading his might help you understand this one a little better. Whether you agree with what he says or not, he makes you think. It immediately struck a cord with me. Anyway, I’ve had that line in the back of my mind ever since I read it. I’ve been mulling it over and decided that it would make an interesting blog post. So here goes:

I used to think that everything happens for a reason until I read the above mentioned blog. It really changed the way I think about things. It makes so much more sense. Until I read that, I had been struggling with why certain things have happened to me. I’ve had a rough couple of years and I used to think that if everything happens for a reason, what could possibly be the reason for making my life so hard lately! It just didn’t make sense to me. But now that I’ve changed my thinking, I think I can come to terms with most everything that has happened.

Here’s what I mean:

As you all should know by now, I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer in August 2009. Cancer does not run in my family, so I never really gave it that much thought. That is until the day I was sitting in that doctor’s office listening to him tell me that I had it. If I had not been sitting down, I’m pretty sure I would have fallen down. Undoubtedly the worst day of my entire life. So if everything happens for a reason, what possible reason could there be to give someone such a horrible diagnosis? Who would want someone to suffer like that?! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy! I just couldn’t wrap my head around it … still can’t. But in changing my thinking to “there is a reason everything happens”, I think I can. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had never had cancer, but having it made me change my life. Admittedly, I was very lucky. My cancer was found very early, in Stage 1. When the tumour was found, it was approximately 2 cm. I was also lucky enough to be referred to one of the top cancer doctors in the country. I opted for surgery, which removed all of the cancer, and I did not need chemo or radiation. I also have a very low chance of it returning. Again, lucky lucky lucky. Before my diagnosis, I knew I was not leading a healthy lifestyle. I was very overweight (still am, but working hard on that), not eating properly, not exercising much (if at all), basically not taking care of myself at all. In the past, I occasionally tried to do something about it, but gave up and went back to my old ways. I just didn’t have the motivation or drive or desire to change. Nothing, not even my mom getting sick, seemed to click that I was headed for disaster. So I think my cancer diagnosis was the universe’s way of smacking me upside the head and forcing me to realize that I needed to change my life. So the “reason” is I needed to change my life and start taking care of myself.

And there is more to it.

Within days of my diagnosis, my mom had hip replacement surgery. She was in poor health and the surgery was extra risky for her. She came through the surgery just fine, although she did have a few problems afterward. In October 2009, I had my cancer surgery. The surgery went well, but I had a long recovery. By February 2010, I felt like I was getting back to normal. And then in April 2010, I get a phone call from my mom, who got a phone call from my stepmom saying my dad would be having a triple bypass the next morning. I immediately called my stepmom to confirm the details. I live far away so I knew it would take some work to get there. The day after his surgery I was sitting in his hospital room hoping he would be okay. I got the chance to speak with his doctor who said that he came incredibly close to having a massive heart attack that he probably would not have survived. Thankfully he recovered quite well and again, things appeared to go back to normal. Then in July 2010, tragedy struck. My stepmom died suddenly. We were all devastated. I don’t think I had ever seen my dad so broken, so vulnerable. Again, things slowly went back to normal. In October 2010, Dan and I took a dream vacation to Barcelona, Spain. It was incredible! We had a great time. I wish we could have stayed longer than we did. We returned to find one of our cats sick. We rushed him to the vet, but they could not save him. He died 3 days later. He was 12 years old. I was devastated. We had him since he was a tiny baby and had been my constant companion. In December 2010, my dad was forced to move from his home so he came to stay with us. It was a big adjustment. In January 2011, another bump in the road. Another one of our cats got sick and died. Devastation once again. I felt like every time things seemed to be going well, something bad had to happen. But once again, things seemed to return to normal. I began a new exercise regimen, mainly just walking around the block. But at least I was getting out and doing something. I was feeling good. It was June 2011 and I was getting myself ready to do the annual Relay For Life walk for the Canadian Cancer Society. The morning of the Relay, I got a call from my brother. My mom died. I almost fainted. I was in shock. I knew that my life was never going to be the same. I felt completely derailed. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. I took me a long time to come out of that, but by January 2012, I felt like I was becoming somewhat normal again. Things have been going really well (knock on wood). I have been going to the gym, watching what I’ve been eating, and found myself an amazing trainer. Life is good. And despite the challenges of the past couple of years, I feel rather blessed. (Look for that in another post).

So what’s my point to all this, you might be asking. Well my point is this: Going back to the theme of this post, that there is a reason everything happens, I think the “reason” is to prove to myself that I’m a strong person, much stronger than I ever knew; that I can handle whatever is thrown at me; that I can become a better/healthier person no matter what obstacles are put in my way.

I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me and that’s what matters. You may not agree with my thinking, you are entitled to your opinion, as am I and this is mine.

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4 responses to ““There is a reason everything happens”

  1. joe says:

    Dear Jenni….My son Nick forwarded me the link to your blog and I have just been reading some of them…Thank you so much for seeing in them what I have always seen. It makes me so happy to hear someone else say what an inspiration they are. They have inspired me all their lives. Your courage IS an inspiration…to others but I am sure most importantly to yourself. Take care Jenni…continue to live your life as the incredible person you are. Smiles and hugs…Nick and Ty’s mom =)

    • jenncoleman says:

      Wow, thanks, Joe, your comments really made my day. I feel truly blessed to call your sons my friends. They came into my life just when I needed them. You take care as well and thanks again. Perhaps we will get to meet in person someday.

  2. Kristine says:

    Wow, Jenn! My first time on your blog spot…so much about you I never knew. You are an inspiring and amazing woman. Check out my latest FB status update–posted with you in mind! ; )

    Kristine Murray Gallagher

    • jenncoleman says:

      Thanks, Kristine. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog. I put a lot of myself into everything I write. I try to post at least once a week, so please keep an eye out for new posts. And if you know anyone who might enjoy reading it, please feel free to pass it on.

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