I love roses ~ heck, I love all flowers if the truth be told! In fact, I have repeatedly told my hubby to not bother with flowers at my funeral because I make sure that now, while I”m living, that I have fresh flowers in my home that I can enjoy whenever I want. It’s true! And no, just for the record, I’m not dying anytime soon ~ at least that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it! But truly, my own personal opinion is that if you enjoy flowers, you should enjoy them now while you’re breathing, smelling their fragrant aroma and enjoying the beauty of their petals! I don’t want to see a ton of flowers at my funeral when I can’t see them except from Heaven (again, this is said in hope that I’m going there eventually as well! )
But today, I’m presenting you with a bouquet of flowers ~ pink roses in honor of your warrior spirit in becoming a survivor.
Ugh, I’m sorry, but I dislike the word survivor ~ and the word warrior doesn’t do it for me either. I like to think of myself as having endured breast cancer for to me, the word endure means that I didn’t like it, but I put up with it and I’m now so over it as well! What do you think?
Diagnosed at age 34, I was not prepared to be a young mom who lost both of her breasts, although honestly, no matter what your age is, I don’t think any of us are prepared for the diagnosis of any disease, are we? I specifically remember the breast surgeon when she was doing my needle biopsy which was December 26th, telling me, “I will be so surprised if this mass is breast cancer. Don’t worry,” which I know she meant to be reassuring to me because I was squirming with the many needles that she’d given me.
So when her nurse called on New Year’s Eve at 11am asking for me to come in at 1pm and to bring my husband, I knew ~ this wasn’t going to be good news. I remember hanging up the phone, my hands shaking uncontrollably and telling my husband. I remember he bundled up our boys who were 1 and 3 yrs old off to his parents’ house ~ who cancelled their party that night and instead hosted our little family of 4 after the appointment for which I will always be grateful.
I can still see myself in her office, hubby at my side, hearing her tell us what she thought my future held: lumpectomy, ACT chemo (the kind you lose your hair with), radiation and it was then that I heard that lonesome train whistle blow ~ Wooooo Woooooo ~ and the Pink Express roared into the station of my life!
Now the Daily Prompt today, “You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?” and I guess my answer would be, “No, I wouldn’t erase getting diagnosed with breast cancer.”
You see, breast cancer changed me: physically, mentally, emotionally and it changed my family, my friends and my loved ones. It stamped its mark on my life in such an indelible way that I can’t go back now to that girl I was beforehand and I don’t want to believe it or not. I’m not saying that I liked enduring cancer, oh no! That’s not the point at all! But breast cancer made me grow spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally ~ it changed the way I look at life and things and people and myself. Instead of rushing about, I now take a moment to stop and smell those roses, smile at that stranger, reach out to touch someone else without fear of being different. I found my healing touch which unless you’ve suffered, you truly can’t tap into that inner dark abyss and linger too long. It is perhaps because we’ve suffered that we can more easily connect with others through empathy, understanding and kindness. It is our willingness to dig deep into our souls to allow for the sunshine to spring forth into our daily lives. It is the midnight, all alone in the darkness insomnia which allows us to deepen our human experience. It is facing our mortality which reminds us to dance in the rain, look up at the sky and to be grateful for each precious moment we can treasure in our lives. It is knowing that forgiveness is key and allowing the soul to rejoice in the littlest triumphs. Breast cancer gave me the courage to speak up, to ask for what I needed and to receive it.
I wish I hadn’t endured all that I have, but if it is what I had to do in order to have the level of human understanding that I do now so that I can help others, well, then it was suffering well worth the price.
So I’m off to buy myself some flowers ~ you should too!
Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!