“Life is a gift.
We just have to remember
to untie the ribbons.”
I was diagnosed on New Year’s Eve of 2001 with breast cancer. I heralded in 2002 with trepidation, stark fear and a sickening feeling in my stomach as I faced the unknown future. Due to that diagnosis, I have survived more than 10 surgeries with one more in the future. I have endured 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of daily radiation, countless tests and visits to specialists, excruciating pain, sleepless nights, days when my brain just didn’t seem to work, losing my hair, my breasts, my confidence and my life as I knew it. I have residual problems, testing every 6 months due to complications and I’m never quite far away from that original diagnosis although to meet me you may never know what I’ve endured.
But I’m still here, untying the gift of today…everyday.
It’s a choice my friends. No matter what you are facing and believe me, I’ve faced so much in my life and not just cancer, it’s a choice to greet the dawn with enthusiasm, patience, love and kindness in your heart. It’s a choice to think, “Oh God, it’s morning” and groan or to say it with enthusiasm for the gift of today that is yours. After any illness, tragedy, or hard times, there’s a transitional period to find your new normal. It will go a lot easier and faster for you if you lean into the idea that change is inevitable and it can be good.
Don’t mistake me, I can still get plenty mad about having breast cancer. I can stomp my feet with the rest of the marchers and be angry that parts of my life have been taken from me. I can look at my scarred body with hatred for what has occurred. However, I choose to look at it with love for having endured so much pain and still be able to house my soul, my heart and my mind. Sure, there are days when I lament the loss of my figure as it was before cancer and sure, I look at the scars and see the pain, the heartache and feel that I am not beautiful.
But…I can also look and see how my body has healed herself with my help. I see how my mind, body and spirit have connected, joined forces, so that the superficiality of life has fallen gently by the wayside and I am freed from conventionality. I hold dear the knowledge that I find beauty in another soul’s eyes and spirit and pray that there are others out there who feel the same way.
We hold the power to untie those pink ribbons and find beauty, love, light and health in our own lives. The diagnosis and subsequent treatments hold a turning point in my life. I cannot say that I am happy I had this illness. But I will say that I have grown in my own strength, love and health because of it. I am a different person because I have endured so much and I am grateful for what I have learned about myself. I found inner strength that I never knew I possessed. I embrace my spirituality more tenderly than before and I hope that if you are on this journey of breast cancer, that you find peace, love, health and light within you to guide you as we find ourselves on this journey of light.