I’ve been working on some research this morning for Chapter Two, but find my thoughts wandering to the enormity of the project itself and how it all came about.
One day you’re supposedly healthy and the next day you’re diagnosed with cancer. That is a tough thing to wrap your head around – not only for you but for those around you. You’re the same person you were the day before, but you suddenly feel like you are defined by cancer, People are concerned, but most feel awkward. It is hard to know what to say, so many resort to platitudes…you have to stay strong…you are going to be fine…God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…you don’t look sick…etc, etc., You reach a point where you want to talk about anything but the cancer…not because you don’t want to share your journey, but because it is exhausting to feel like you have to be strong for the rest of the world so they will feel more comfortable.
When I began treatment, I began my first blog. That was my way of giving myself an outlet where I was free to express myself and also a means of sharing with family and friends without having to retell my story over and over. I’ve been a quiet person all of my life. I never sought to be the center of attention – never liked to get up in front of the class…never wanted to feel like all eyes were on me. But the strangest thing happened as I made my way along this journey.
While I never believed that cancer defined me, it somehow gave me a voice. In May of 2011, I was named the first honorary chair of the Komen Siouxland Race For the Cure. I was also named the Komen Siouxland representative on the New Balance Breast Cancer team, I was later selected to drop the puck and ride the Zamboni at the Sioux City Musketeers annual Pink in the Rink. I was interviewed numerous times on local television and was the subject of a feature article in the Sioux City Journal. To this day, I have no idea how all of that happened, but the even better thing that happened is that I found myself being placed in situations and crossing paths with friends and acquaintances who were themselves now touched by cancer and were in need of someone to talk to. I was able to give them a voice in an atmosphere where they could feel comfortable to talk freely and to express their feelings. This continues to this day.
That is why I am determined to pursue the writing of this book. I believe that if you’re given a song, you should sing it. If you’re given a story, you should tell it. And, if you’re given a voice, you should use it. I’ll leave the singing to my talented husband, but I do have a story to tell and a voice with which to tell it. And, I now have the time, so that is what I hope to do, no matter how long it may take.