I just read the most amazing story about breast cancer. It brought back a flood of emotions from my own experience. Her story resonated with me. She was trying to be so strong and make all kinds of deals with God. Trying to downplay her cancer not even admitting to her kids that she had cancer. Not taking care of herself, not telling people and not asking for help, not even talking about it with her husband. And then she finally burst.
This was not my story. I did reach out to people. Chris was my rock. I watched what I ate and I exercised. However, I also got depressed and angry with God and life and felt like this was not fair. I got mad at the things people said to me about having a mastectomy. Many tears were shed. And I felt bad for having these negative feelings. I was disappointed in myself for not always being positive and upbeat. For letting myself wallow. But I read this woman’s story and it made me cry for those feelings all over again.
I went to a support group for a while during my treatment. Everyone would share their stories and talk about their situation. One day I was sitting next to a woman who explained her story and was debating whether to have a bilateral or unilateral mastectomy and she talked about it in such factual terms. Like this was purely a practical decision. I felt so completely opposite of this woman that I was not even sure we had the same disease.
Reading this article helped me to see that not only does every woman have her own story but also her own reaction to her diagnosis. And sometimes that reaction even changes. I know now that I can’t plan or control how I will react to anything. But I can allow myself the space to have the feelings that come and I can forgive myself for not acting “perfect”. Today I am just happy that my story continues.
If you have anyone in your life touched by breast cancer I would absolutely recommend this article for a little perspective.
The article can be found in the Oprah magazine October issue entitled “your story will be unique”