A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Real Thieves

Our fast-paced and chaotic way of living--with traffic and telemarketers and texters and twitters--along with the stress of the economy and the total uncertainty of what the future holds has gotten to me lately. You could say, I've been on edge.

Then, this weekend, Mom told me that her neighbor--who is my age with a 14-year-old daughter--is on her 3rd round of chemo for breast cancer. What she has gone through over the past year, and continues to go through in fighting this disease, floors me. I don't know that I would have her resiliency to endure so much for so long.

I was quickly reminded of how I felt when I was diagnosed as Stage 3 over eight years ago, before I began treatment, and wondering if I would be alive a year later. I remember that all my daily irritations and problems and worries fell away. They simply didn't matter. They lost their power. Only living mattered.

And when my frustrations and bad attitudes vanished, I became intensely aware of the beauty and wonder of life. I realized--as so many cancer survivors do--that focusing on all the negatives distract you from the richness of all that's good in the world. They rob you from living.

I love how the priest in Les Miserables answers people who question his decision to not bolt his door at night to prevent robbers from entering. He responds that it's not thieves who steal silver that we should fear. Rather, it's the darkness of our souls that truly robs us of all that's valuable.

So, I am once again reminded of how precious life is--despite it's constant disappointments and challenges. And in today's environment, there are many. But it's amazing how gratitude can instantly reverse your viewpoint.