Monday, March 17, 2014

Five Years Ago

     For most survivors and family members, cancer is a life-changing event.  Our family is no exception.  The surgery to remove the cancer from my left breast was five years ago today.  Other people would be going to parades, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef and cabbage with Irish soda bread.  Ahhh, the luck of the Irish.  On that morning, I reported to the Cancer Center conveniently attached to the hospital.
     My cancer was discovered by a routine yearly mammogram.  If you haven't made your appointment, please do so now.  My yearly mammogram saved my life.
     You can read about my journey on my I Wear Pink page.
     To mark this day, I am re-posting something I wrote a few years ago, edited only by the number of years..

Dear Breast Cancer,
     You were an unwelcome guest.  I didn’t even know that you were there, growing, changing, threatening.   My first hint of your existence an ominous walnut shaped spot where no spot should be.
     I recall when I learned your ugly secret, the way my heart skipped a beat, and my stomach clenched.  The way my eyes filled and puddled over in fear and shock.  I never thought you would come to me.
    You crept silently into my left breast.  Don’t you know that my infants nursed at that very breast?  I held my babies in my left arm,  their little heads pillowed against my breast, echoing its soft curves.  They could hear my heart beat, thump-thump, thump-thump.  You would have extinguished that forever.
     You stole something from me.  You are always on my mind.  I wish that I could forget you.
     You changed my life.  You showed me that I am more delicate than I know.  You labeled me as sick, different, damaged.
    You touched my children.  They were frightened that they would have to grow up and grow old without a mother.  You took part of their childhood away.  They should not have had to deal with adult worries.  You would have silenced my voice in their future.
     You touched my marriage.  I am no longer the smooth skinned bride that my husband touched with joy.  You marked me.  My scars reflect my determination to be rid of you.
    Breast Cancer, I can not believe that it has been five years since we were introduced.  Some days it seems as if it were just yesterday.  And then there are times when I feel that I have known you forever.
     Breast Cancer, I would not have chosen you, but, I have learned these things from our dance together.
    You do not define me.  I am who I always have been, but more so.
     I am not alone.  My friends stood beside me with home baked meals and encouragement.  More friends then I knew I had.  They were the tangible hands and feet of Jesus to me.
     You have given me sisters who have fought the same battle.  I want to serve as an encouragement for them.
     Our family was strengthened by your visit.  They covered me with love and prayers.  Crayoned cards and gentle kisses.  Quiet times and boisterous parties with enough squabbles and mess to let me know that I am needed and wanted.  Our family works harder to be there for each other then before you reared your ugliness.
     I have learned to love unconditionally, to forgive completely,  to live in hope, and to enjoy every moment I've been given.
      My marriage is sweeter.  My husband touches me with new found joy and appreciation.  We whisper our love quietly heads together and argue loudly about nothing of consequence.  We defer to each other and support each other.  My husband is my treasure.

      Breast Cancer, I did not fight you like a girl, I fought you as a Warrior.  The battle for me was already won on Calvary’s cross.  I know that God loves me.  I have seen His goodness in the land of the living.
     Breast Cancer, you forcefully pointed out that narrow gate through which we all must pass.  But I have learned this, the One who has led me all my life will not desert me. When the time comes for me to pass through the narrow gate,  it will be just wide enough for me and my Savior together.

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