I got breast cancer the first time at the age of 27, while breast feeding my youngest of 3 sons. My boys were 1 year old, 3 years old, and 5 years old. It was aggressive and back in the day when very few young women were diagnosed (unfortunately unlike how it is today). It’s a super long story, but let’s just say I made a few life changes, then life went on…The second time I got it was in the other side, equally aggressive, 4 years later at the age of 31. That diagnosis completely changed my life. Over 25 years ago now, my boys are in their late 20’s and early 30’s…and I am still so very grateful to be alive. I’ve lived a life beyond any I could’ve imagined! Maybe wouldn’t ever have imagined without those challenges. And yes, I still DREAM! I’m still learning to dream BIGGER dreams!
Dared to Live…
I owe my life to breast cancer. TWICE. If I could erase all the painful memories, scars, and permanent side-effect, I would NOT. See, my diagnoses dared me to live. To define Christine. Who am I? What do I want? What do I need? How do I want to live whatever life I have left? I realized time is not a given.
That life is too brief to waste a moment being unhappy. I’m not talking about the unhappiness that occurs due to unforeseen calamity. I’m referring to the unhappiness that is settled for. The unhappiness that results from foolish decision making or self destructive behavior. The funny thing about happiness is that you have to make it happen, and recognize it as it does. Almost elusively, it happens one breath at a time. It’s not really a finished product, but a process. The decision to continue its pursuit creates the triumph. Happiness comes by the consistent commitment to oneself, despite almost constant opposition. A momentum which then builds with each dignified resolve.
Through grief, loss and death, I gained beyond my imagination. MY SELF. MY LIFE. Don’t misunderstand. I still get frightened when I consider an ambiguous future. I still get lonely. I still cry. I still stamp my feet and pout. But I still kiss my children goodnight too. I still dance, a gypsy spirit in the moonlight. I still laugh so hard I often forget to breathe. I still push the boundaries of propriety. I just do it all now because I want to, not because I have to prove anything to anyone anymore. I claim my life, for however long I am allotted. You too have life for an allotted moment. Tomorrow morning, look out your window for a minute. In fact, go outside. Look up at the sky. Whether sunny or cloudy. Rainy or clear. Breezy or still. Listen. Are the birds chirping happily or is it quiet? Feel the sun upon your face. Or the wind against your cheek. Or raindrops cleansing your mind. Take a deep breath. Pause. Exhale. Stop. You just experienced a momentous exchange of life. Beautiful wasn’t it? Simple synchronicity. And that moment would have been less beautiful if you weren’t a part of it. Life is but a breath that moves in and moves on. It lingers but a while…such a short while. Don’t wait until you are faced with a personal crisis–if you are fortunate enough to receive a warning. Smile and be good to yourself, now! Dare to LIVE! Dream! Then, make those dreams come true. You really do have all the power. In fact, You are the only one who does.