We are all pretty shook up today hearing the news about Elizabeth Edwards, watching her on television as not a presidential candidate's wife, but rather as one of our sisters. She put a face to what we all fear. We fear those words almost as soon as we hear the words we have cancer. We spend every horrifying test and scan praying we don't hear this time "your cancer is back"... but we keep going to our scans because in our hearts we know that if it is back- we want to find it as soon as possible.
Cancer is a revelation to us all about just what we have inside us. Some people go through their whole lives and have no idea the depth they carry within them. But those of us who have been tested by adverse conditions, runs of true bad luck or the words "you have cancer" all know that there is a reserve deep inside us all that reveals itself to us when we most need it. It is that "strength" and "courage" and "bravery" everyone comments on. The cancer didn't bring those things TO us. It made us reach deep within our souls and find that we DO HAVE what it takes to get through any situation no matter how hard and how horrid it may be. It is there waiting for us. And only those of us who have had to tap this incredible resource know it is our secret weapon. It is something the unscathed have no clue that they posses the same reserve- because they have never needed it.
When you break a bone it grows back stronger. We get broken when we are first diagnosed, but as the years go by and the treatments end the break heals- but it heals stronger than ever before. It is designed that way so that in the future if we are faced with the unthinkable we not only can handle it, but we can handle it BETTER.
For myself, hearing that my tumors were cancer and then that I needed the most aggressive approach to dealing with it, and then learning how it had advanced was devastating. But I also knew where to go within me to pull myself up and get through everything asked of me and do it so much better than I did the first time, because this time, my body had already shown me just how truly capable I am.
Elizabeth Edwards first tapped her inner reserve when she lost her son. When her cancer came she buckled down and did what was necessary and pulled from that inner strength that had revealed itself to her after she lost her child.
Now she is facing this. She knows she has what it takes. Because of our secret weapon that no one other than a cancer survivor can understand, she knows she is going to make it because that is exactly how this should be faced. To have her wonderful husband quit to stay home with her so they could sit around waiting for her next symptom is like ringing the dinner bell for the Beast.
So they beat on. They do what they have to do healthwise, they do what they dream of accomplishing politically and they press forward... can you imagine how pissed off the Beast must be at them for blowing him off and continuing with their lives? GOOD! Let it be a lesson to that miserable Beast!
We all have it inside us girls. And if any of us should ever hear what we fear the most, remember, you've got the right stuff. You have got what it takes to take on the beast and live your lives. And LIVE is what we must all do everyday.
Today we may feel scared and alone, or in a panic about a scan, but the scan will come and go and the news is what it is. It is no way to live, but the only way to counteract it is to use your incredible reserve and move ahead and don't look back.
And we will beat on and on and one fine day we may hear the words Ned or Stable or even "the new drug has eradicated your cancer completely"
It is all there-
our strength reserves, the hope for the future and wonderful lives to lead if we remember that cancer must never live rent free within us. We RID ourselves of it and keep close watch on any sneak attacks. We take our meds. We get our scans and we remember that EVERY SINGE CANCER is different. The stats are on our side- unfortunately some stats are not- and we must be proactive and smart about our care. And as the Edwards said, "Move Forward"- always keep moving.
And so, sweet sisters who I love so much, we keep on fighting, and we go outside and fill our lungs with sweet spring air and we stretch out our arms farther and farther ready to embrace the next breakthrough... and we know we have each other and millions of other women who are our sisters doing the same thing.
I am so inspired by EE and her attitude to keep on going and not let the beast ruin any of her plans is the only way for us to live.
Some of us MAY hear those words again. Most of us won't. But until that day- live each moment for what it is and treasure it.
I have a new dx. And I have been terrified of the other shoe dropping for the past five years. Now that it has I feel a sense of relief. I got cancer again but I am so much smarter now and I know I have the inner fortitude to do what I have to do. And I only know that because I have been through it already.
Never underestimate how powerful you all are. EE is a shining example of that.
We are stronger, smarter,better people from what he have endured and we can handle anything that comes our way-- just like the Edwards are.
May God bless and keep you always.