Age is just a number. You can get healthy and fit. But first you must BELIEVE!

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A scar means I survived....

Wednesday, January 29, 2013

This morning I am working on a new personal project ....that being trying to get all the small scraps of paper with notes that I've jotted down from time to time....of books I think I want to read, quotes, ideas for books I might want to write, directions to somewhere, people's birthdays, addresses etc. etc. onto something more permanent like into files on my computer.  I actually hate doing this, because I like the feel and look of those little pieces of paper.  I've held on to them for so long...I can scramble around on my desk and know where they are, but I'm trying to get more organized so that I will not feel guilty about writing or reading for several hours a day (more on that subject can be found on my latest post on my other blog ).

Anyway, this morning in going through one of my little marbled journal books...I came across a quote out of a book I read several years ago, called  Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

When I read what I had written down....I was amazed at how (although it was not written in the book as this context), it was so relevant for those of us who have had breast cancer....

The passage is:

“I ask you right here to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what scar makers want you to think.  But you and I, we must agree to defy them.  We must see the scars as beauty.  Okay? This will be our secret.  Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.  A scar means  ‘I survived’".

That is so important for us to remember.  After my husband passed away and I had recovered from my first breast cancer in 2002, I remember thinking (or wondering) who will ever love me again with this horrible divot in my breast and the scar from the port and the long scar from where they took 21 lymph nodes....who would want to look at me and be able to see any beauty there....

But somehow by the grace of God, I did eventually find someone who loves me just for who I am and not for what I look like.  

This time the scars are not as bad.  The surgeon I had this time, Dr. Watson at Scott and White, was amazing and I am sure that as time passes, I will barely have any noticeable scars on my right side....and what matters most is that I have learned to love the scars on the left side.......because they do mean that 'I survived'....and that is beautiful.

I think about the men and women who come back from war with limbs missing....yes it is tragic, yes their lives have changed forever, yes they will have to learn how to get around a new way, yes it will be a challenge.....but they are survivors....and their scars are beautiful because they gave of themselves for our freedom.  

Never pass up a chance to tell someone serving in the military how proud you are of them and thank then for their service...........and never forget to tell someone who has survived cancer or who is still battling cancer to never stop fighting....that they are beautiful...scars and all.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray.....It's Sue's Day !!!

Monday January 27, 2014

To some of you this may be just another Monday........just another start of another week......the near end of another month.  But if I remember correctly from a brief conversation I had with her, today for my fellow breast cancer friend Sue, this is Hip Hip Hooray Day.  The day of her last radiation treatment.  Big huge warm hug Sue and enormous congratulation.

For those of you who've not been through the trials and tribulations of fighting breast cancer this is a big day.  If you had to go through chemo, which Sue did, they (the oncologists) usually have you do  chemo first and then you start your radiation.  

Chemo is brutal and when you finish it.......that day too is defining--very defining.  When the chemo starts fading--and there are days when you think it won't--there are days when your white blood count goes scary low--there are days when you just want to give up.  But if you are lucky enough like I was in my first battle and like Sue was in this battle to have someone who encourages you to not give up--to fight the fight---that never stops making you believe you can win this battle then you are so blessed and you get through the nasty nasty days of chemo.  

And then the radiation starts and although it doesn't knock you to the ground like's tiring to travel every single weekday to get the treatment. Not to mention that the process of radiating your body is traumatic and the fatigue can be so (for lack of a better word)....almost debilitating.  When the last day of radiation comes, it's like a finale.  It's the end of a long long grueling battle and it can be emotional (as I said on my post of my last day) because you've done it.......

You've done it Sue.  You may not feel like it just yet, but you are a survivor! You can  proudly say .......
Years from now you will look back on this time and not remember all of the bad days--the days you wanted to give up---the days you thought you might not make it--you'll look back and think......I made it through that dark time in my life!  I didn't give up!  As they say in the breast cancer world, I put the gloves on and "I fought like a girl" !!!!

I'm proud of you Sue.  I'm happy for happy for you!  This morning as I start my almost second week without radiation and I see the signs that my skin won't forever look like elephant hide and won't forever be beet red, I feel the feeling and 'almost excitement' you are feeling this morning.  In just a matter of hours you will be done.  I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks and I want to tell you, it's OK to be's OK..this is a big's been a long time coming and tomorrow (no 5 minutes after your last treatment) is the first day of the rest of your beautiful life.  Live it to the fullest.  Never take a day or a moment for granted.

Let the memory of this unpleasant fight fade....but keep just a tiny seed of hope in your mind always. I pray with all my heart that you never have to go through this again.  But if you do (if God forbid you do) draw from that tiny seed of hope and always remember you fought your way through this with proud dignity. An ugly monster attacked you and you won....YOU WON!

I wish I was there this morning to give you a huge warm hug....Rhonda and Sara will give you one.....because they too know how important this day is...

It is your day sweet friend.....HIP HIP HOORAY!

If I knew where to buy this pin, I'd bring you one to proudly wear....