There is a wonderful organization in Minneapolis I became familiar with several years ago when looking for a place to donate my deceased uncle’s belongings. Hope Chest is the brain child of Barbara Hensley whose two sisters both died of breast cancer.
As she sat with her sisters going through chemo, Barbara became acquainted with other women there for whom cancer was only the tip of their trauma iceberg. They had financial worries as well, medical bills and no more sick time to offset their income.
Barbara’s Hope Chest raises money for women who need financial support while undergoing treatment. Read more about her and her amazing organization at www.hopechest.us.
And HOPE is what it’s all about for me as I begin my treatment tomorrow. Surgery is set for noon, EST, and I HOPE it goes well. But more than that, I HOPE that this life event brings with it more than just worry. I HOPE it teaches me about courage and compassion and how healing the love of others is. Thank you all for your thoughts, messages and prayers. I’ll be in touch in my new form soon!
Three mammograms, three ultrasounds, three MRIs, a CT scan, a Bone scan, a PET scan and two biopsies. In the last 50 days, my body has been scrutinized from the top of my head to my knees. It appears that unless I have cancer in my toes, the nasty beast resides only in my left breast. Hip, hip horray!
As I look at the above list, I realize how lucky I am to be living at this time and in this place. Medical advances are occurring every minute. I live in a country where medical insurance (although hotly debated) is available and affordable to me. I have the love of family and friends. But even so early on in this journey, I have become aware of others in my condition who cannot count blessings such as these.
One of my favorite movies is “Overboard,” starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel. After she regains her memory and realizes she is not the wife of a poor carpenter but a very wealthy woman, Goldie is given this advice from Roddy McDowall’s character:
“… most of us go through life with blinders on. Knowing only that little station to which we were born. But you madam, have had the… rare privilege of escaping your bonds for just a spell. To see life from an entirely new perspective. How you choose to use that information is entirely up to you.”
That sentiment is pertinent so many times in our lives, as it is to me now. For the first time in my life, I’m relying on medicine, love and prayers to make me healthy. I have the advantage of seeing life from “an entirely new perspective.” I hope I use the experience wisely. And I hope pointing it out to you gives you the courage to look at your adversities in a new light as well!
Patience is NOT my virtue. Charity and justice? Absolutely! Courage? Giving it my best. But patience tries my patience. Even as a child, I received rebukes from my parents and teachers about my lack of the “p” word.
Seems everything surrounding a cancer diagnonsis requires patience. Meeting with doctors, diagnostic screens and tests, the list goes on. Following in this “running in place” vein, I now learn that my surgery will not occur until May 31. I have been assured this will in no way endanger my health, but I feel as though I’ve had cancer forever and it’s eating its way through my body like PacMan.
It occurs to me now, however, that patience is a real test of courage. It’s far easier to give up than hang in there. Did you know that designs for the printing press date back to 200 AD, but a modern version didn’t appear until 1439? Or that the first published design for a submarine was in 1573, but they weren’t used in naval combat until 1776? Or that light bulb experimentation started in 1802, but the invention of a modern light bulb didn’t happen until 1879? What if all these inventors, and myriad others, hadn’t been courageous enough to be patient?
Lesson learned – being patient is an exercise in courage. And the number of reps and sets of patience we perform will only serve to build our courage muscles!