This was a BIG day. The first meeting with my surgeon. I liked her very much. She was encouraging, believing that the cancer is contained to just my left breast. She shared that the diagnostics had identified two other “satellite” tumors orbiting the mother ship, and for that reason, she is recommending a mastectomy, to be done in a few weeks.
The word that makes a woman’s blood run cold: mastectomy. On the way home I voiced to my husband what had been running through my head in the doctor’s office. “I’m not going to be the same woman you married a year ago.” In his steady and loving voice, he replied, “There are some people who are beautiful on the outside but have nothing on the inside. They’re outside-in people. There are others who are beautiful on the inside and it radiates to the outside, regardless of other circumstances. They’re inside-out people, and they’re always beautiful. You are one of those.”
He followed up with all the wonderful things a woman wants her husband to say, but it got me thinking about all the times we envy the rich and famous and powerful. The beautiful people. Every so often, we even wish we could be like them. The ones we should want to emulate, however, are the inside-out people. We may not notice them right away. And it may take courage to announce they’re the ones we prefer. But imagine what a world would be like full of inside-out people, and those who love them.
Remember the story of Newton? An apple fell on his head and gravity became a buzz word. What if the things that happen to us (the really BIG ones) are a nudge toward something bigger? I hate that I have cancer, that my family and friends are worried about me, that it’s all such a bother. But what if it’s an exercise that will make me better at writing and speaking?
So what’s happened in your life that you’ve drawn strength from? I’ll bet there are experiences you’ve had that were major pains at the outset. Where did they lead you? What pot of gold did you find at the end of the rainbow? And how are you better off for the experience? This cancer thing – this is the biggest thing I’ve faced yet. But it’s going to be just as inspiring as poor old Newton’s apple!
I wish I was only referring to courage as “the big C.” But it seems that at this point in my life, it has been determined that it should refer to cancer as well. Breast cancer to be exact. I’ve had five days to get used to saying, “I have breast cancer,” and I still feel as though I’m reading lines from a script.
I have always kept my blog and newsletter as motivation and education for others, but broke with that rule when I informed 1,000 readers of my new personal challenge. The response to my request for their love and prayers has been overwhelming. And moving. And powerful. It seems we spend so much time in our skin, doing our own thing, that we forget every hour of every day, we’re touching others’ lives without ever knowing it. I am as guilty of that as everyone else.
So the board of directors (that would be my husband, my sons, the two women they love, and my best friend) have decided that the best way to keep in touch with everyone is here – on Shades of Courage. I’ll write when I can, David (the love of my life) will write when I can’t, and we hope that you’ll add your comments in for flavor.
As I did in my newsletter, my courage will be bolstered by all the love and prayers you care to send, along with suggestions, personal reflections and funny stories. Especially the funny stories. Humor is a way of life for me and additional material is always welcomed.
My goal is to make certain that My Big C (the cancer one) stands no chance against My Other Big C (the courage one). Thanks in advance for helping me reach the goal!