Friday, October 1, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Day 1

So we have officially entered breast cancer awareness month. Let the pink ribbons explode upon retailers everywhere. Personally I couldn't be any more aware of this disease, but if it hasn't been forced upon you or your family, as it was mine, it is a good thing to be reminded of.  Enter...the purpose of this blog.

I think of everything in life is a learning experience.  Learning is sometimes fun, sometimes painful. For better or for worse, lessons are learned and we are all the wiser for the experiences that life forces upon us.  Cancer was one of the experiences that my life forced upon me.  I have learned a lot of things from this disease.  
I recently received an email from Komen and in the subject line it read "I think about this disease everyday". Then I thought..hmmm, me too!  I wondered how many other people, like myself, could say these exact same words. Say them, and really mean them. I think there are a great number of us that can unfortunately. Not only us cancer patients, but the people that love us as well. I think it is safe to say that millions and millions of people are affected by this disease, and not only this disease but cancer itself.

I saw a story on the news yesterday about a women here in Colorado that has been faking cancer for several years and has swindled her friends, neighbors, etc. out of money to support her drug habit. You can read about this piece of work here if you are so inclined. I was infuriated and personally offended after hearing this story, as I am sure many people were. On the news I saw them interview one of her neighbors. The neighbor said that she was not sorry that she had offered her help and that she would offer the same help to her again if she found out they were in need of it.  I have to say I would not have been so nice.  Just hearing the report I was yelling at the TV and I wasn't even personally involved.  Maybe I should pray to be more forgiving?

Besides reminding myself to pray to be a better made me think about all of the people that were so kind to me during my fight with cancer. So, so many people offering to help in whatever ways they were able. I was overwhelmed with how many people reached out to help me and my family. People brought in meals, sent cards, paid bills, left money, cleaned my house, took care of my kids, took me to appointments, gave me massages, held my head over the toilet, helped me walk and recover after surgery, shaved their heads, listened to me cry and whine, held my hand, I named it - they did it.
Here is a story related from my blog shortly after I lost my hair:

Jon and I were able to go out to eat at the Egg and I with the twins the other day. We went to go pay our bill and someone at the restaurant paid our bill and gave the waitress a note to give to me that said "A good deed had been done today in loving memory of my mother. Good luck to you ~ a friend" Of course I was in tears the rest of the time there and the whole way home. It is unreal to think about all the many women that this disease has impacted.

I still remember that day.  It was cold and snowing, and I am always freezing, but with no hair it gets really cold.  I had a stocking cap on, but my head was getting so itchy from wearing it.  I realized soon after shaving my head that it was constantly irritated.  I had been messing with it most of the way through our meal and finally just took it off.  I always hated the looks and stares from everyone.  I could just feel everyone in the room looking at me and was so uncomfortable.  It was a bad day on top of all the hat drama because I was feeling horrible.  As soon as the waitress gave us that note I was in tears and cried until we got home.  I couldn't believe that a total stranger would have done something so kind for me.  The stranger really lifted my spirits that day and I will never forget that. I will be forever indebted to those who so generously gave of themselves for my benefit during that time.  I hope that I will be able to do the same for others when the opportunity presents itself.

Lesson learned:
An act of kindness, no matter how small you might think it is, can really make a big difference to the person on the receiving end.  When in doubt, it is always better to act then stand by and wait for someone else to.  You'll never regret being kind and loving. 

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