Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Breast Cancer Taught Me

And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin, Danish diarist

Up above is a quote that I referenced in my journal last year on August 13th which was the month before I learned I had breast cancer. I'm cancer-free now and ridiculously thankful. I was reviewing some of my journal entries from last summer last night and this quote really popped out at me and got me thinking about how radically different I feel today. I wouldn’t say that my life has been characterized or confined by remaining tight in a bud. Sure, I’ve had my seasons when I have felt hurt, fragile, confused and a bit broken and I can’t deny that those seasons wreck me a bit and cause me to walk more cautiously, to be more guarded but to park myself in a tight bud, well that’s not something I ever plan on doing.

I have to say that beginning with mid August of this year, I’ve become quite ravenous about everything and I feel like I’m blossoming in new ways. I have such a rich appreciation for so many people and things and experiences. I’ve met some fantastic people along the way and have experienced some really wonderful and beautiful moments that I will cherish for a lifetime. I’ve even taken up salsa (dancing) lessons which is something I have wanted to do for so many years. I’m really having fun with that and I’m glad and thankful that I finally signed up!

Cancer my friend is such a horrific word and such a nasty disease, really. It's absolutely nefarious with a capital N!  I’m thankful that we caught my cancer in the very early stages but if its not caught early, the fight takes every thing you’ve got to beat it and regardless of when it’s discovered, cancer invades your body, your life and everyone around you in unexpected ways. It’s not always awful because good and beautiful can still be experienced in the midst of adversity. Last night, I was thinking about what breast cancer has taught me. It’s changed me in really good ways and I wanted to share with you just some of the things that I scribbled down as I pondered what I learned. Below you’ll find my list.

  1. Breast cancer taught me to be more grateful and to find something every day to celebrate.
  2. It’s taught me to live fully alive, and created a new desire to be very present in every moment.
  3. It taught me to love more deeply and to love more richly.
  4. It taught me to say I love you more often.
  5. It taught me to be more grace-filled, and more forgiving.
  6. I learned that I’m deeply loved by many and I so appreciate their display of love and affection in my life.
  7. I’ve learned to care for myself in better ways by eating healthier and exercising more often.
  8. I learned how valuable it is to have amazing friends and family in your corner walking the journey with you.
  9. I learned to appreciate little things. And I have to say, those little things bring me great joy! Appreciation is a wonderful perspective and a great way to live.
  10. I learned to say thank you to EVERYONE for being a character in my story, good or bad, it has served me well. Every experience has taught me something.
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family. For me, it will be a quiet intimate afternoon and evening with a small but beloved group of people I call family. Tomorrow will be more than just about giving thanks to God for His goodness in and on my life, but for second chances too. Tomorrow I will celebrate and be thankful for the woman I have become and the woman who is yet to be discovered because experiences shape us every day and I trust and hope and pray that I become every bit of the woman God calls me to be.

And before I end this reflection, I want to thank my friends and my family for being part of my life, for being a character in my story. Thank you for everything, thank you for being YOU! A brilliant writer once wrote: “When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate.” I trust that you’re in a sweet season in life so you can say thank you and celebrate how lavish it is to be alive.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires - disruptions in our lives that seem to be disasters at the time but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way.          ~Bernie S. Siegel


Saturday, November 13, 2010


God allows specific people, at specific times, for specific reasons into our lives. Nobody comes into our lives without some kind of purpose. Some stay, others don't but no matter the outcome, there's always purpose and the experience can teach us much if we let it. We all benefit when we observe, pay attention, analyze, learn and grow from our experiences.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fighting Breast Cancer

Fighting breast cancer was never something I ever had to do alone. I'm so-o thankful for that. I felt closest to God and felt His love and protection and the love and support of so many dear friends and family members during that season.

People tell me all the time that I'm lucky but I feel like I'm more than lucky. I feel really blessed and I know that I’m God's girl. It's wonderful to feel it but its more delicious to know it, to really believe it. I was and still am incredibly blessed and grateful to have had an entire team of amazing, loving and wonderful people in my corner. That kind of love and support makes my heart feel really full. My cup runneth over...