A Way of Life
Over the last year and four months I have come to realize that being a breast cancer survivor is more than just a statement. It is a way of life. A way of living each and every day from just pulling yourself up and out of bed in the morning to getting yourself back into bed when the day is through. It is about finding a way to live through the uncertainty of tomorrow and the pain of today. Along the way you find, store deep within you and when needed rely upon faith, hope, strength and courage. Your new life is a maze of "what ifs" as it suddenly becomes an open book for all to see, to read and to criticize. Surviving breast cancer becomes an intricate and defiant part of who you are now. Your life, the one you have now taken a second mortgage out on, is up for review every so many months so you live every moment as if it is your last. This is the life of a survivor, a life that is now mine and one I am humbled to live.
As I have traveled this road I have come across many different women and with each woman a new story of triumph, loss, hope and courage. I was reminded of this on Mother's Day as I enjoyed the afternoon with family. I was standing there, taking in a ball game with my children and husband when I looked to my left. It was instantaneous, one look and we both knew. She was standing there, with her hat on her head, standing out beautifully while smiling through her fear. Before I realized we were embracing as if we had known each other all our lives. We stood there, crying as the other people around us looked on with confusion not knowing what to think of us.
Yes, I saw the loss of hair, the lost look in her eyes, but I also saw determination, strength, courage, grace and beauty. I can tell you from living through this battle myself that it takes all five of those traits to step out the door, walk tall and still move among the living everyday. In those precious moments I shared with my fellow sister, I saw myself not too long ago. I felt the tears, the fear and the loss. I understood the uncertainty she held in her heart as she looked upon her children, I too have felt that pain. Yet for all her fear, she walked with strength, shouting it loudly for everyone there to see. She was beautiful and she was inspiring. She was my hero.
Yes, survivors are a different breed. We lose our hair, and our breasts all while still tending our homes and raising our families. We tie on our bandanas and still smile through the stares. We are strong women, confident women and we are determined women. We are the unspoken heroes, which go unseen and largely unheard on most days. We are more than pink ribbons, we are fighters and we are SURVIVORS.