Grace Through the Storms: An Update
“It’s probably nothing, I see this kind of thing all the time, you don’t have anything to worry about.” Words spoken by two doctors prior to my diagnosis. Words that are meant to provide comfort, but instead now elicit a feeling of sheer panic, knowing that a bomb can be dropped any second. The calm before the storm. In a way, I kind of wished they had expressed more concern, because then maybe I would have been a little more prepared for the words, “You have cancer.”
It was a Friday afternoon, October 18, 2013, around 3:00 pm. The day before I had just had a biopsy done of a lump they found in my right breast. The doctor assured me that this was just precaution and that I was too young to worry about this stuff, I was only 38. It started out as a normal day for me, I was booked solid with meetings, I had gone about my day flitting from one task to the next, not really thinking too much about the pending news, because it was nothing, right? I was at work, just finishing up a meeting and another one was on the way when I got the call. The woman’s voice on the other line was monotone, almost cold in nature, as if she had given this kind of news to hundreds of women before me and she was just going through the motions. I had cancer. I remember thinking to myself, don’t panic. We don’t know how serious this is, the tests results aren’t back, people beat cancer every day and you will be no exception. It’s nothing right? I’m too young for this to happen right?
I was a 38-year-old woman, who had a very aggressive form of breast cancer with a 40% chance of beating it. I was facing chemo and a double mastectomy and I knew had a long road ahead of me.
I got knocked down, beat up and have the scars to prove it, in the last five years I have had 5 surgeries, over 175 doctor’s appointments, 85 tests done, 13 scans, 6 rounds of Chemo and 6 specialists that I am on a first name basis with. My physical attributes, that I felt made me a woman were gone and my self-esteem was non-existent. All of this while going through a divorce, losing my mother to Alzheimer’s and almost losing my sister in a near-fatal car accident. But I kept fighting.
As the rug kept getting pulled out from beneath me, each time I kept standing because I knew that even though this disease and my circumstances seemed like unconquerable giants, I knew that my best life was still to come. I knew that if I stood up to them long enough they will eventually start to lose their power and force, it will dissipate from pure exhaustion of fighting a fight it will never win.
I admit that when I started this journey I thought that I would be that person, that woman that was strong and fearless. I would be the woman that handles everything with grace and confidence. I would be a gladiator of sorts, inspiring others to be bold, be relentless and take no prisoners. Well, I’m not going to lie, I was far from being THAT woman. Instead, I was human, but I kept giving myself grace for the times I failed at being tough and believed that my best life is yet to come!
I realized in this journey that all the physical attributes that I mistakenly thought made me the woman I was, pale in comparison to all the attributes that make me the woman I am today. Today, I finally feel free! Free of my self- limiting beliefs, free of others opinions of me determining my self-worth, free of trying to please everyone rather than trying to please myself. I am finally free of living in the past and dwelling on a future that may or may not turn out the way I would have hoped. I am here living fully in the present. I am here with a renewed purpose and passion to help others that feel trapped by their own demons. To give them hope beyond their circumstances because I am living proof that whatever they are feeling right now, it is only temporary.
So if you find yourself with thoughts of hopelessness I want you to remember the number ONE.
- Just give me ONE more try. This is what my doctor kept saying to me every time I wanted to quit and what I believe God is telling you if you are willing to hear it
- Take ONE day at a time. If you live in the past it will haunt you, and the future is just a figment of your imagination.
- You have ONE life to live and it IS a life worth living
- You have ONE opportunity to make each second count, so make it one that helps make a difference in someone else’s life.
Remembering the number ONE encourages us to step out of our comfort zones and reminds us that we create our own reality with our thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
So on this day, I want to celebrate the incredible strength and courage of women everywhere that have gone through or are going through cancer, to the caregivers of these amazing women who support them in their fight and all the amazing doctors who make it their life mission to make us invincible! Thank you for showing the world what real sacrifice, determination and courage looks like! You are the real heroes!
Check out Kathy’s blog from 2014 – Grace Through the Storms