Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stay Positive!

"How do you stay so positive? How do you reconcile the fact that you did nothing wrong, yet you had a cancer that if you hadn't caught early, it could have killed you. How do you go on? If it had happened to me, I would be sitting at home, depressed, unable to go on. How do you do it within yourself?"

Those words were asked of me last night at a United Way get together and they made me stop and think. Because honestly, I don't feel like I have been always upbeat and positive. I've cried, I've complained. I've stared at my old chest and now my new one many times and lamented what has come to be. I've changed my diet, changed it back, and then settled in to a moderation. I've taken meds that make me want to barf, and then meds to counter my craziness that make me want to barf, and through it all just moved forward.

Why? Because what else is there to do? I've been sad and scared for myself. I've cried over the old woman I may not become. I've broken into a sweat thinking I won't be there at my younger two kids weddings, or at any of them. I've feverishly written in their journals all of my hopes and dreams for them so they know if I were to pass on. But living, day in and day out, it happens.

My faith has been huge for me as well. I know God has a purpose. For everything that happens in our lives. People to touch, stories to hear…..they all entwine together and I look for those strands daily. If one person learns from my life, is touched by my story, finds strength for themselves, then this journey is doing what it was meant to do. Such as all walks in my life. I simply asked to walk in Grace.

I also know that I got off easy. Four months ago tomorrow I lost my right breast. And lymph nodes. And woke up cancer free. I have friends battling through so much more. I never forget that fact.

In eight months, at my one year anniversary, 5 friends and I will do our first Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk in Atlanta. 60 miles in 3 days. I've always wanted to do one, and now, as a survivor, I will. The impact of that is not lost on me. As we raise money, tell our stories, work together, and think about how we can do a few things long term, I am reminded of our basic needs. Food, water, shelter, others……and I know in my heart maybe that is how I make it through. I know I am not alone.

From Cullen's best friend's mom handing me a lapel angel silently, to my family being here, to the meals, to the cards, to the calls, emails, notes, through the support as we fundraise for this amazing walk, the hugs, the smiles, the other survivors who's strength I rely on….I have not been alone one step of the way. And it's hard to feel negative when you feel the love. So much love. And support. And prayers. And stories of hope. And peace. For God has me in his hands and even though I know not what will happen next, for now, I am here.

So I guess for me, there was no other option I considered than to stay positive, stay faithful, lean on others, ask for prayers, and to move forward. To make most days count. To exist in the here and now. To show that yes, this horrible ordeal happened to me (even though some days I can scarcely believe it!) but I came out the other side. And so can you. Because I will love you, support you, and hold your hand through it. And I bring along a slew of people who are holding my hand as well.

And in that fact, I find Grace.