Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Today our local newspaper ran an article about me and as I read it, I had mixed feelings. I was honored to have been featured as a breast cancer survivor. The reporter had done a good job with the facts except for a couple of small errors. And while I was happy to have had a little of my story told, I felt badly that the readers didn't know the entire story. They'd only gotten a little snippet. Nothing had been mentioned in the article about my faith and how God has sustained me throughout every single step of my journey. That was an important part that had been left out. I also felt badly about those ladies who have either been recently diagnosed or who have fought their battles in silence...their stories left untold. Yes, I was blessed to have been featured but there are so many with stories like mine out there. Their stories are only known to close family members or friends and maybe they want to keep it that way...maybe they're very private people and we should respect that, but then again...maybe they're not.

I never dreamed my face would be plastered across a newspaper article. I've always been extremely protective of my private life but something happened after I was diagnosed with cancer. I felt like it was my duty to share information about my journey with others. No, I wasn't anything special. I didn't have all the answers. I merely wanted other women to know they weren't alone. My story might have been vastly different from theirs but it was my story. And for some reason, cancer seemed to bond women together into a sea of pink sisterhood and I knew they'd understand.

As a breast cancer survivor, I've come to realize we're all fighting our own battles. There are no instruction books on how to get through cancer although I'm sure someone has probably written a "Breast Cancer for Dummies" book by now. We still have to take one moment at a time, one day at a time. What works for one person might not work for another but we're all grasping at straws trying to find a way to hang on dearly to life. We're all searching for hope. We all want answers. We do whatever it takes to understand this alien invader and conquer it. We do our homework. We research. We experiment. And sometimes, we find something that works.

My desire, in having the newspaper article written about my journey, is about one thing and one thing only...to give hope to others. To help them understand the words, "YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER" don't necessarily equal the words, "YOU ARE GOING TO DIE SOON." We're all going to die one day or another. We aren't immortal and we know it, but for some reason, when we hear the words, "YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER," it brings that reality into a much sharper focus. When we begin to hone in on that image, the image of imminent death, we become overwhelmed and afraid. That's why it's so important to me to help others see a little more clearly. We can shift our perspective. We can choose to focus on life instead of death and that's exactly what we should do. We don't need to give cancer more power over us than it already has because after all, our days are numbered. They are held in the Creator's hand, not ours. And He alone knows how many days each of us has been given. And with cancer, you can't never always sometimes tell!

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