Breast Cancer Adventures - Away We Go!
Over the past few months LBBC blogger Ronda Walker Weaver has been sharing her story with us and highlighting the risks, surprises and adventures that her breast cancer journey has presented in her life. Today she shares with us her final installment of the four part series: adventure...
I found my lump on Aug. 30, had my biopsy on Sept. 4, and received the "news" on Sept. 6, with surgery on Sept. 11. My first chemo treatment was on Oct. 10, and my last radiation session was on April 18. These dates served as reminders and markers along my journey.
Even though surprises are not my forte, adventures are; I like planning, that's part of the adventure. As I've mentioned before, over our back door is the phrase, "Go out for adventure, come home for love." I'd like to share 2 adventures I've had while on this journey - one, physical, the other, well, the rest of me!
First physical -
I am amazed at my body. I've always been in good shape, but my body was put to the test during my surgeries and treatments. And you know what? My body has not failed me. With all the needles, drugs, radiation, stress on my body, I made it! I lost every bit of hair on my body, but most hair has returned. I gained 25 pounds - so I definitely don't look at my body and see me, but I have a body, and I am working hard at regaining my strength and being able to fit into my clothes again! Listening to my body, and watching my body deal with cancer treatments was the adventure. What's next? How will I react? This adventure has kept me wide-eyed almost curious, as I've put one foot in front of the other. I can look in the mirror and see the "trick" cancer has played on my body, yet I am astonished, amazed, and overwhelmed with gratitude, at my physical strength.
Second spiritual and emotional -
I am amazed at how much cancer and its treatments has strengthened me. I've always been a tough, "I'll do it myself," kind of person. Yet I now know how important it is to be soft as well. I could not have made it through my treatments without the generosity of others. I am more calm, more thoughtful, more optimistic, less reactive. Watching my own growth take place, over time, while recognizing it, but not necessarily controlling it, has been the adventure. I am finding there is less need to speak myself, more opportunities to share of myself, less need to take myself so seriously, and more need to take others seriously. I've learned how to say "no" as needed and "yes" when I sincerely want. I have cried more than I have in my entire life, and I am brought to tears by the beauty around me. I am astonished at the generosity of others, amazed at the beautiful world I live in, and overwhelmed with these lessons.
A friend wrote to me, "This time will be filled with deep and unexpected changes. Some beginnings, but more endings. It brings sadness and a curiosity about the future. The answer to getting through it seems to be steeping in it fully, and feeling every single thing. That takes the fear away." This is where the adventure has been for me. Steeping in my cancer fully, feeling every single thing. Life is good; I believed this before cancer treatments, and I know it now.
How can a woman with breast cancer (or any other cancer) be prepared for what the future holds? There is no map showing the journey - only a hopeful destination - health, life, remission. Life can't always be planned (another lesson I've learned), and flying into an adventure can be good, even if the way looks stormy.
Ronda is 54 years old, she eats right, exercises daily, and there is no history of cancer in her family, yet she was diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. She teaches folklore and writing at Utah Valley University and works for an online education company, LearningU. She loves reading, listening to music, gardening, walking and riding her bike, traveling, and spending time with her grandchildren, children, and her dear husband – who has been her pillar of strength through her journey. She also writes her own blog called Folklady’s Adventures. Be sure to check back soon for the 3rd installment of her story!
A breast cancer diagnosis is an adventure in and of itself so be sure to check out our educational guides on various topics ranging from hormonal therapies to financial concerns here.