The day I found out I had malignant melanoma on the back of my left calf, Feb 29, 2012, I wanted to buy myself flowers. I walked through the florists, looking at the bright colors, rich smells, vivid greens. I did not buy any flowers. I bought a three-inch flat cactus in a 3 inch clay pot. The cactus was how I felt. Prickly, not pretty. Dull, not vivid.
I placed the plant on the table by the window in the living room. Today when I was dusting, I noticed the plant. It had changed. It had grown, It had new life. A spike growing out of the top. One hundred and eighty-three days after I bought the plant – one hundred and eighty-three days after the nurse told me on the phone that I had cancer – the plant had become beautiful.
I have a scar on the back of leg where the melanoma was. New cells have knit together the slash in my leg where the skin was cut open, the cancer cells cut out.
Beauty from ashes. Hope where there was none. Joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair.
I watered the plant today.