Friday, March 28, 2008
The Two Faces of Cancer
The Two Faces of Breast Cancer
I have lived and loved. I have succeeded and failed. I have laughed and I have wept. I have hoped and I have felt fear tear it away. I have touched grace and I have laid in anguish. I have held faith close to my heart and I have struggled to find mercy for my soul. My eyes have seen beauty and my ears have heard the pain of cancer’s cries.
What does that make me, a survivor? Am I weak or am I strong? Is there glory in living to tell the tale? What about the sorrow? What about the dark times, do we forget about how they tear at us? What do we do with the dark seeker’s chains? Water or rain, freedom or life, how do we take one without the other?
What darkness hides within us when cancer comes to call? How do we suffer the scars, the pain and the sorrow of cancer without losing our sanity? How do we stand tall, hold our hearts together? How do we keep our souls from scattering? Where is the turn around when breast cancer steers you down her road of uncertainty?
Don’t we all stumble? Don’t we all fall? How do we deal with life when cancer has your back up against the wall? How do we do whatever we need to do, become whatever the ones we love need us to be? How do we carry the load even while our arms sting and our legs bend under the strain of the weight? How do we direct all the drama that is all around us?
Living day to day with this beast do we find there is a subtle kinship that develops with hope, but also with fear? In this struggle there is an all-consuming fire that burns deep. Rich or poor cancer strikes without notice. It’s as if Breast Cancer rides in on the back of a snarling, clawing beast with the Reaper right behind lurking within striking distance. Life changes and suddenly you are on a stage grasping for your lines. You see the curtain calling and you pray that you can just remember to breathe.
How do you keep believing? How do you stay brave, keeping courage alive within your spirit? How do you subdue your fright and longing to live as if you hadn’t a care in the world? How do you smile when you are desperate to dance as if you were still Cinderella? How do you look at your image in the mirror and see the rags of your life, the loss of your hair, the scar across your chest and the missing breast that the beast ripped from your body? Where has your life gone? Do you go to the ball? Do you weep? Do you allow despair to move through your heart? Do you fall over with the weight of this burden? Absolutely! You just let go and forget about being brave for just a little while.Does it change everything? Yes. Does it make you weak, small and insignificant? No, it makes you human!
THIS is your dark place. THIS is the side of you that is hidden, kept far away in the well of guarded emotions. THIS is the part of the Act that is kept behind the curtains, the part that you want no one to see. THIS is the fear, the pain and yes, THIS is the darkest part of your story. THIS is the part of you that feels the sorrow, the pain, the loss and the fear of this brutal attack. THIS is the part of you that cries in the shower when no one but you can hear. THIS is the part of you that remains alone, quietly sick in another room. THIS is the part of you that screams silently inside when your fingers feel as if each one is breaking. THIS is the part of you that crumbles and questions all the hows and whys of your cancer. THIS is the part of you that feels like exhibit ‘A’ and cries out to leave it all behind! And THIS is the part of you that wants to pour your heart out where everyone else fears to tread. Yet still you choose to break those chains, to step out every day with confidence and courage.
It’s hard to shine when you are on shaky ground, but still, you somehow find the strength to be strong and stand in awe of the life that you have been given. Yes, you still worry when the night falls, but then you see the moon shining, pouring her light down upon you. Even though the sun has set, you feel the breath of life filling your soul and the warmth of the Son within your heart.
Strength is not the absence of fear, but instead the acknowledgement of fear itself. I may stand with just a small dagger, my armor may be worn through and I may tremble where I stand but as night fades I can see the dawn of the morning rising! Let it be said that we were strong, undefeated and hopeful. Let it be known that no matter the struggle, no matter the ferocity of the beast we stood our ground. It is true that we walk by faith even though we are standing on the edge of a raging river. Maybe we can’t see straight as we are dancing on the edge, but the possibility of forever challenges us to break away. Breast Cancer is the invisible road of the unknown, yet we keep walking, don’t we? What more do we have to fear? We are walking by faith with hope. We just have to listen to our hearts and to the still small voice that urges us to rise up even in our weariness.
Yes, you may have two faces. You may see the darkness within, but it is the choice to walk in the light that keeps you from those chains. It is the courage to still go to the ball, to be unshakable, to be unbreakable even when you are fragile. Absolutely, you have changed, and yes you have lost parts of who you thought you were. Yet, you are still dancing, you are still standing upon this stage of life and you are still fighting! This is the face you show to the world, the voice that says ‘Hear I am’! The part of you that stands defiant, the face that dares life, shouts to this Breast Cancer not to tread on you! Standing here, you hear the echo of fear, see your reflection in the mirror and finally feel her chains untangle you. Sweet release, water withrain, life with freedom, cancer and remission-- these are the two faces of Cancer…