Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How many of us prefer to cry alone?

It's October, & just about everybody knows it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Some people resent the PINK, & others think it's all about the image of the stores & products that participate. Those who have other cancers aren't jealous. No, they don't want breast cancer, they just can't help but wonder why breast cancer gets so much attention when they are suffering too. As for me, I would be fine if it were just Cancer Awareness Month. All cancers potentially change life. I have dear friends journeying this journey with other terrible cancers.

As far as Breast Cancer goes, I have too many friends with Breast Cancer. The total far outnumbers my friends with other cancers by at least a 3:1 ratio, not including the friends I have made through the support group I attend at the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate. Recently, I opened up my Face Book while sitting in my car alone. Suddenly, there I was sobbing, all by myself. Yes that is how I prefer to sob, all by myself.

I have a friend, a young mom. She has 4 grade school daughters. Her Face Book post was about finding her daughter in her room crying. You see, Mama is having surgery tomorrow. The little girl is filled with fear & anxiety. Mama has Breast Cancer. She has known for about a month, but it took time to put as many pieces of her story together as possible. Her day has finally arrived, & her little girl was crying alone in her bedroom. How many of us prefer to cry alone?

What goes through the minds of those effected by Breast Cancer? Probably very much the same thoughts & feelings that occur with other cancers. Fear & Anxiety are likely the most prevalent feelings. The unknowns & the scary words, big words, strange words, words that sound like foreign language. Confusion is also prevalent. For those of us who don't like to wait, we might as well get over that. Waiting will be a part of the Survivors' life (likely forever). I do not wait well, so this part of the journey is unnerving to me.

Specific to Breast Cancer, concerns about losing a part of our femininity seldom escapes us if we are  women. If we are BrCa positive, it opens up a whole new mess. It means we are a carrier of the Breast Cancer gene. The treatments for Breast Cancer depend on each unique case, how aggressive the cancer is, the size of the tumor, the location, the lymph node count, is the cancer hormone positive, is the tumor incapsulated, …

So many decisions must be made. Double Mastectomy verses Lumpectomy, Chemotherapy, Radiation, the order of these treatments, how to tell our family, our friends, what to tell them, etc. Who will be a caregiver, or will it be a multitude of loved ones? Do I put my life on hold or attempt to carry on as I face this nightmare How will my marriage,  my friendships, my children, my mother, my siblings, my husband be effected? Will my Breast Cancer have a recurrence? What is my rate of Survival?  How am I going to get through this? Should I get a second opinion? Should I go with a Holistic Approach? What about immunotherapy? And… will I lose my HAIR? Will I die.

Tough questions, right? It's only by the GRACE of God that I am a SURVIVOR! Occasionally, 5 years out, I am still thrown curves. All Survivors are, especially in the first year. I discovered new details about my original case 8 months out. New research evolves, & so my plan for survival is adjusted. My Plastic Surgeon thinks I need more reconstructive surgery. So… life goes on (with or without me). My life stoppered on August 14th, 2011. It takes time, will, & grace (God's grace) to learn to live life to the full in spite of circumstances. My life is a testimony to that, especially given the fact that I haven't known a day without anxiety since I was 10 years old.

One last remark…Friends, Prayers, & Loved Ones have carried me through each day of my life since my diagnosis. Without them, I don't know where I would be.

Monday, October 10, 2016


What makes us who we are? Is it the clothes we wear? I know a respected woman who once said that our clothes say much about who we are. Is it what we eat? We've all heard the old adage, "We are what we eat." Perhaps it's who we hang with? Remember teaching our children or being told that we are no better than the company we keep. Maybe it's our career. Clearly, our chosen path is a part of our identity. What about the words that come from our heart?

Hmmnnn… A wise person once wrote , " What overflows in the heart is what comes from the mouth." So if what comes from my mouth reflects what's in my heart, I think my words are a good measure of my heart. In last night's debate, Trump seemed to excuse his lewd remarks at age 59 as "just words, locker room words." When asked if he ever acted on those vulgar words, he replied "no" emphatically. Who, of us, hasn't said words in the past that were regrettable? I don't know a soul on earth that hasn't wished (at least once in their life time) that they could recant their words. We can apologize for our words, but we cannot take them back. We can tell someone we are sorry, but we cannot make that person forget the sting or the damage of our words. 

So if we are all guilty of messing up & saying wrong things, why is it so hard to excuse his words that were said over a decade ago? 10 years is a LONG time to hold a person's words over his head. But… as Hillary pointed out, his words do reflect his heart. As we've tuned into his life over the last decade, it seems to repeatedly have issues which prove numerous times that those awful words caught on tape are a problem for him. They are a reflection of something very ugly in his heart.

Now… back to Hillary. What about her character? Well… over the long haul, she seems to have a problem with lying. If she were Pinocchio, just how long would her nose be? She conveniently lies with ease, & I don't believe I have ever heard her apologize for her deceit. She has apologized for some of her actions, but not her deceit. Scary thing is, her deceit is hidden. It takes a whole team, a whole lot of money, & a wealth of time to prove her deceit. The result, she apologizes for what she did, she even refers to it as a mistake, but she never acknowledges her problem with not telling the truth. 

Hillary seems to choose her words more carefully than her opponent. She seems more concerned with her image than Trump, but she just cannot seem to get away from  her dishonesty. Her actions seem to conflict at times. She has done some wonderful things for children, but in the name of womens' rights, how many children (babies) have been suctioned piece by piece from their mothers' wombs, never seeing the light of day? She says she cares about our soldiers, but how many soldiers lost their lives because at 3am, she did nothing. Her words & actions just don't line up.

So… last night, what would have been the outcome of the debate if the opponents had been hooked up to lie detectors? Would we have even had a debate? Sadly, our presidential candidates both seem to have character flaws that just won't go away. These flaws do reflect their hearts. They cannot hide their flaws because they are a part of their character. You see these flaws show up not only in their words, but in their body language, how they carry themselves, & by what is revealed from behind the scenes. It is devastating for our country, but these flaws cannot be ignored. Yes, to some degree, we have all been guilty of dishonesty & poor choices of words. 

However, there is this little God given thing called conscience. How do people live with themselves? How do they look at their reflection in the mirror, evaluate their flaws, face the American people, take each other on with little remorse for their own words & actions? In fact, if not caught, my guess is, there would be no remorse at all. Do either of these candidates genuinely have remorse, or are they just caught?" If a person wants to change his/her flaws, the heart must be examined. The change must be a heart change. As the heart changes, the words & actions change to match the heart. I cannot say I see a heart change in either candidate.