A Letter To Myself
Ronda Walker Weaver is a regular LBBC blog contributor. Here she shares insight into the journey of cancer that only experience itself can tell...
A year ago tomorrow morning, 9:30am, Dr. Dayton pulled Scott and me into her office and said, "I'm sorry Ronda, it's bad news, you have breast cancer." I covered my face with my hands, cried, shook, cried. I was stunned, in complete shock like never before. She said, "You can do this." Scott said, "We can do this." Dr. Dayton made a quick call, and within minutes I was in the office across from hers talking to the surgeon who would remove a portion of my left breast.
Today, as I've read my first posts, I am sad. I cry. I hurt. I ache for me, for the innocent Ronda who is about to undergo a life-change she cannot comprehend. Cancer is a bitch - and that day, and the days that followed I lost any remaining innocence I may have had. And for that, I'm still in shock - I want to apologize to the 147 lb. 53 year old Ronda, with natural blonde hair, for all that she is going to have to go through - hold her in my arms, hug her, cuddle her, let her know she is loved.
Dear Ronda -
You have cancer. You're going to need medical care to move past this invader. The next few months are going to be tough, I ain't gonna lie. You are going on a journey that will try your limits of physical, spiritual, and emotional endurance. You will turn inward at the same time as turning outward. You are alone, yet the community that surrounds you will become your salvation, your savior, your strength.
Your will lose your innocence (there are some things in life you can avoid, but apparently this isn't), but you will gain wisdom (the type of wisdom gained from going through trauma). The insight and knowledge you gain will keep you from becoming hardened. The experiences you will have will soften you, giving you more empathy and compassion than you ever thought possible.
You will survive this ordeal. You will, I promise. In fact, not only will you survive, but you will thrive. This will take courage and effort, but you already know that - you are one courageous woman, a woman who is not afraid of hard work, of learning. In fact, you have lived your life with a "bring it on" attitude, and this will serve you well.
You will change, life will never be the same, yet most-likely, you will be a better person because of this. Remind yourself of this often. You like change, you thrive on change, see this as an opportunity to evolve. I have faith in you, as do hundreds of others. Don't forget this. Enjoy this journey. Find the joy in this adventure. Find the goodness, the generosity, the gratitude, let this move you forward, not take you back.
And then when you think you've experienced it all, cancer will continue to be a part of your life. Just being finished with treatments will not mean you are healed. Your scars won't be the only constant reminder of your cancer. Your body will be beaten up. You'll be forced to listen to your body as you continue to battle the side-effects of your treatment - broken bones, weakened balance, weight gain, and you thought losing your hair was going to be the only change! Listen. You couldn't hurry your treatment, you cannot rush your healing. Pace yourself (a lesson you really need to learn), and you will heal.
I love you, lady. Turn inward, find the power within, it's there. A life's worth of lessons will be handed to you this year and in the years to come, gather them, hold them gently, they are yours forever.
My love - Ronda
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.