Rhonda Cagle

Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

I’m Still Here, Dammit!

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2016 at 5:04 pm

I get it – 2016 sucked for a lot of people, including me. For most of the year, I fought cancer. If anyone has the right to bitch about a bad year, I’m at least toward the front of the line.

But is it worth bitching? And was it really a bad year?

Cancer treatment left me with large gaps in my 2016 memory. The scraps I do have are mostly filled with pain and loss. My family, who acutely remembers all the things I don’t, tells me it’s probably best to leave the gaps unfilled.

But this past year also holds other bits and pieces of remembrances, memories worth noting and keeping. Friends who brought me food and gifts to help make the fight bearable – and winnable. My husband, who put his political and professional life on hold, to help me fight and win my battle. My children, who saw me at my weakest and worst, and loved me in spite of myself.

And then there are the memories of me. Me finding my voice and being an advocate for my own health and life – even when it meant changing doctors and, at times, pissing off the ones I kept. Me choosing to continue working through treatment, even when my doctors told me to take some time away from my professional life. Me staring down the demon of my late husband’s death from cancer and determining that my story, by the grace of God, would be different.

To say that 2016 was a hard year is an understatement. But it offered some hard-learned lessons – ones that are worth mentioning.

Make the pain pay. Inevitably, hard times come. Loss can be overwhelming. Disappointment can be bitter to the point of being disillusioned. Then what? For me, the answer is cry, curse, spit, rant – whatever it takes to get through the deepest and darkest of the pain. But then make the pain pay. Turn back around and use every hard-learned lesson to help someone who doesn’t yet know they, too, will emerge on the other side of darkness.

Work as though your life depends on it. Doctors don’t know everything, but they sure as hell like you to think they do. I frustrated my doctors because I refused to stop working during my treatment. What they didn’t know is that my work was sometimes all there was between utter despair and me. My work is full of purpose. It gives children who are too often marginalized and minimized an educational choice that results in a second – and sometimes an only – chance in life. I worked in order to survive the brutality of my treatment; otherwise I might have given up. Whatever brings purpose and joy to life is something worth doing, regardless of what anyone else says.

Don’t “should” on yourself. Should have, could have, would have serves no good purpose in life. Would my cancer have been caught earlier if I had been more diligent about screenings? Maybe. Then again, my sister was diligent and she ended up being in treatment longer than I for the same kind of cancer. Could my late husband have survived his cancer if the doctors had taken his warning signs more seriously? I don’t know – won’t ever know. The truth is that we all do the best we can with what we have to work with at the time. To “should” on myself only brings negativity and wasted energy into my life. Reflect, revise, and move forward, failing a bit better every step of the way.

Know what sustains you when all else fails. When body parts are cut off and poison begins coursing through your veins, you decide what you truly believe in a hurry. More than ever, my faith holds firm. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth… The disappointment, pain, and fear of 2016 makes my faith more sure than ever.

I’m thankful to be turning the page and beginning a new year. But I’m strangely thankful for 2016. I’m keenly aware that its hard-learned lessons will be needed more than ever, come January. For all the brightness of a New Year, storm clouds are on the horizon. There are more battles to come.

That’s okay. Thanks to 2016, I’m ready. I’m still here, dammit. Still standing. Still fighting. Still believing.

Ain’t it something?! Cheers.

2017

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New Year, Like Newborn, Needs Love and Believing

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2014 at 11:23 am

A New Year has a lot in common with a new baby. At first it’s all shiny and new, filled with endless possibility. Six weeks later, it’s harder and more complicated and tiring than you imagined. And there’s no instruction manual to be found. (Below is my newborn daughter and me, circa 1993)

Image

But the New Year, like a new baby, needs love and believing. It’s what I’m writing about in my latest Arizona Republic column. http://t.co/4RJJLnoJp9

Different Resolutions for a New Year

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm

My list of New Year’s resolutions is different this year. Probably because I’m different. I’m not as interested in a “to do” list as I am a “to be” list. My list this year isn’t about losing weight. Or gaining a new hobby. It’s about becoming the kind of person I’d look for in a friend.

Photo found at: finearttips.com

Photo found at: finearttips.com

You can read about my “to be” list in my latest column for the Arizona Republic. http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/20130102cagle-resolutions-should-be-reflective-not-stressful.html

The List

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Perfect days begin with a cup of coffee and a long soak in my hot tub. Watching the sun peek over my roof, its light wakes up my garden and the warmth of the light and heat of the swirling water brings life to me. It’s one of the pleasures of calling the West Valley home in January.

This New Year began with one of these perfect days, allowing me quiet time to reflect on what I want to accomplish this year. Tumbled, tangled mental lists of everything I’ve failed at began to spill out. Resolutely, I determined to put them at the top of this year’s list. The more I drummed up, the dimmer the day became.

And then I stopped; realizing my fists were now tightly balled and my muscles were tense, despite the warm water and pulsating jets. Resolutions are supposed to make my life healthier and better, not give me a stomachache. Thinking long and hard for a moment, I opened my hands and let my list go. I watched the tangled mess swirl and drift away from me; it’s troubles eventually dissipating like the bubbles in my hot tub.

I allowed my mind to drift through moments when I’ve felt good about myself, proud of my outcomes. More of these moments should comprise my list. So this year, creating everyday graces in the lives of those I love makes the list. So does kindness. Civility. Compassion. Quietness. Mindfulness. My to do list became a “to be” list. And the day grew bright again.

Soaking in this concept, creativity and joy bubbled up, unbidden. And my hands, tightly balled just a few minutes earlier, were open and relaxed, eager to embrace what this New Year holds.

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