Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. ~Author Unknown
Life is truly beautiful; at least, that is what I believe anyway. But in saying that, one of the most dominant things in my life at the moment is not beautiful and that is cancer. How on earth could I ever view that as a beautiful part of life? There was a time when cancer was an “older persons” disease, and it used to happen to people you knew of, through others, not people you actually knew or were close to. The people closest to me are dealing with this disease and it seems to be everywhere I turn.
“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or fight like hell.”
My Grandfather had lung cancer, and a brain tumour, and he lost his battle to cancer at age 69. My Grandmother is a breast cancer survivor; she is one heck of a lady, and she has lived with cancer for longer than I’ve been alive! She has just celebrated her 80th birthday. This was “normal”, even “familiar”, and somewhat “expected”. But … what I didn’t expect was a close friend, at aged 32, with a 9 month old baby, to get diagnosed with breast cancer in July last year. 6 months later, in January this year, another woman I love was diagnosed with cervical cancer; she is not even 60 yet! Again, this month, two more of my friends … One with a brain tumour (thankfully not terminal) and the other with a tumour that may have grown back, after it had been removed and treated successfully. What exactly is happening here??? Why them???
“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” ~ C.C. Scott
My friend’s cancer wasn’t a reality for me until she sent me a picture of her hair being shaved off. Once it hit home for me, I couldn’t stop crying, it was just too much. She has since successfully completed 16 Chemo treatments, and just undergone surgery to remove the cancer, which I am told has been very successful. Her journey isn’t over yet, there is still a long road ahead and of course the dreaded waiting game for results.
“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
What these four women have shown me in their fight against this disease is a strength I never imagined possible, they have remained positive, determined to get through it and willing to give all they have in their toughest struggle yet. I have been motivated and truly inspired by these incredible women. Their stories are not mine to tell, but what I can share with you is the change it has made in my life. I am surrounded by the most amazing examples of woman of strength. When someone says “she’s a strong woman”, it generally means she has been through a lot, or at least, more than they could have imagined being able to cope with.
“There is a difference between a strong woman, and a woman of strength.”
With these women, it is different. Not only are they in a fight for their lives and have the emotional, physical and mental aspects to deal with, they are also in a fight for their families and loved ones too. They find strength for others, they keep others motivated, they smile when they want to cry, they get up and face another day when all they want to do is shut the world out, they live life more than those of us who are not fighting cancer. They have a passion for life and make the most of it, because this is something they never anticipated having to deal with and it places life into perspective.
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” ~ Christopher Reeve
What they have taught me is that no matter how negative a situation may be, there is ALWAYS something positive to be found. It has reminded me yet again that life is way too short to be taken for granted, you only have Today, but today is all you need. Make sure you have made amends and leave no matter unresolved. Even if you can’t be forgiven by others for the things you have done wrong, forgive them, and keep a clean slate in your head and heart. No matter what, no matter when, use every opportunity to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you, and that they are loved.
“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.” ~ Alex Karras
To these incredible, unbelievable and truly inspiring woman of strength, let me remind you today that I love you very much. You are an example to me that I can respect, look up to, and trust for guidance. If ever examples of integrity are needed in Today’s day and age, it is now. Don’t follow trends, create then. Don’t just make a difference, be the difference. Thank you for all that you are, and all that you have done. Stay strong, never lose hope, and never give up, because you are a daily motivation.
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” ~ Kenji Miyazawa
There is a difference between a strong woman, and a woman of strength. You are true women of strength! I hope that if there is ever a time I am facing the same fight that I can be exactly like the beautiful women I am so blessed to have in my life. To all of you who are in this fight, may you all continue to go from strength to strength, today is your day to shine.
Cancer is not a beautiful thing, but there is so much beauty that has come from it, Thank you for giving me HOPE, showing me FAITH, and teaching me STRENGTH … YOU taught me that!
“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” ~ Ruth Ann Schabacker