I wanted to share with you the essay I compiled of my year since my diagnosis. Its for a submission for a convention I am attending in August 2013 http://www.survivorsconvention.com. It is being held in Nashville Tennessee so the blend for me of great music and a chance to hang with other women who understand the long lasting effects of cancer is a perfect opportunity. Having been writing since the beginning of my journey I thought it was only appropriate that I be part of the essay submission. I looked back over my year of writing and tried to find the right words to explain about my second act. What I am doing with what I learned and how I hope to continue to move forward and pay it forward for the opportunity to be well once again. You have to be creative to write your story in 500 words but I think it works. I am not sure how many women will be there but it will be put on display for all to read and to leave messages if they so desire. I am so grateful for the life I get to live and for the gifts the last year has bestowed upon me.
I hope you enjoy, as you all are the reason I am still writing. Thanks for helping me heal!
“Every scar has a story, every story has a scar"
I lost my breasts but have gained perspective or at least a glimpse of what was missing before the clarity of cancer entered my life. The effects of this experience are much deeper than the 6” scar across my chest. Perspective for me was gifted in the form of a devasting diagnosis. I found the need, like many others with similar experiences, to change my life and to somehow make a difference. The universe was ready and willing to respond to me if I so desired.
So, I began to write. I called my blog, “The Rising”, being lifted was what I needed to get through this experience and fight. Each word I typed was filled with emotion, and it helped me work through the anger, sadness and fear. The greatest gift was the gift of reflection. Forcing me to find joy in every moment and find ways to live a sincere existence. I cried as I wrote about the things that were tearing me apart, and I smiled as I shared moments of pure joy. The response to my blog has been more widespread than I ever would have dreamed with readers from more than ten countries. I am grateful for the words that I wrote and the fact I chose to share my journey, the power of written expression healed me with each word I shared.
When I was first diagnosed I wondered could I, would I make sense of all this? My reflection forever changed, would I cope with my new body? Cancer scars run deep and far beyond what the written word can completely express. How do I redefine for me the changes in myself to reflect my beauty as it remains? Self-acceptance was my goal. I found that in the photos of women who chose to show their story through photography. Being moved beyond words, I thought “that is me". Through the art of photography a picture needs no words to be spoken for true understanding. The reality of these photos reflected a raw honesty. I teamed up with a wonderful photographer and spirit, Malin Enstrom. I found her pictures captured moments artfully frozen in time. Her pictures encompassed joy. I needed joy in my life. I can’t fully explain why it was important for me to do this but I hoped the pictures would help people understand that although cancer steals, it cannot take our spirit, our essence or the gifts we bring to this world. The response to my photos has been overwhelming with a piece being written in the local newspaper about the upcoming photography exhibit, which we called, “One out of Nine”. We currently have 12 wonderful women photographed and I have been blessed to witness their bravery and courage in being the face of Newfoundland women battling this disease. My hope for each woman is healing, acceptance and empowerment to continue moving forward. I am inspired.
" One out of Nine"