By Karen Rice
Without questioning, when going through a serious illness, you learn to know what faith truly is, along with finding the true meaning of beauty and how you really feel about yourself. I know this all too well because I have experienced many trials and tribulations in my life. Through it all, I gain strength that I never knew I had, and much more confidence in myself, which led me to loving myself all over again. I had a new beginning, all on my own.
After going through so much in my life, things were going well, until it happened. I had a head-on collision with not only breast cancer, but colon cancer as well, and it changed my entire outlook on life. I thought I had endured rough years before but going through cancer was the rest of the iceberg. There is nothing like it. You wonder, what in life had you done so wrong to have this placed upon you. You began asking, why me. Yet through my tragedies and all that I had to endure, it all became an awakening for me, in which I received and gain all the strength and encouragement I needed to conquer. Through it all, not only did I find the true meaning of life, I found the true meaning of beauty. Through all the chemo, radiation, the pain I endured, I still felt beautiful. I found myself looking in the mirror even more during this time, because I thought what I was dealing with would change me drastically, but as I viewed the imperfections I now have to live with, over time it got better, and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I embrace it all; I'm still among the living, who am I to complain.
Whether we are dealing with an illness or any other negative feelings about ourselves, our lives, and our bodies, we need to be our on-cheering section. Through all my mishaps, I still feel beautiful and it is real. I have come to realize that even going through such a dark time in my life, I still have a life to be lived, and I am going to live it to the fullest. When I think about the individuals that are no longer among us due to such a horrific disease, I'm truly grateful, and I will no longer take my life for granted, life is precious, and we don't realize that, until we come close to losing it. When I think of the “gift of life” that was given to me twice over, I knew I did not have a moment to waste. I would never say having or going through cancer is a gift, surviving it, receiving a second and third chance at life, is the gift. Yet, through it all, I did not allow the disease to take away who I am, or what I stand for. I am a survivor, as well as an example to show that it can happen, and that I can go on and look and feel just as beautiful, inside, and out, and it shines brighter.
Yet through my tragedies and all that I had to endure, I received and gain all the strength and encouragement I needed to conquer. I will say, that the areas of my body that was interrupted, will be a constant reminder I had cancer, and at times, it does bother me, I'm human, but within a moment or two, I look past it, because those areas could be covered up. True beauty is within and when you feel beautiful on the inside, it shows so clearly on the outside. Just because I had cancer, does not mean cancer had me. We as women should never allow anything, or any circumstance to steal our joy, nor our self-esteem. And I know with cancer, many times you are too weak to even think about your looks, because you're not always feeling your best, believe me, I know; but sometimes you must try a little bit, and fight past it and keep living. Through any tragedy, we are and always will be beautiful and unique! Women, we all know that our bodies take lickings, yet we keep on ticking.
When I look back now and see how far I've came, I have to say, I thought right away that my cancer diagnoses was truly a death sentence, because you're not sure if you're going to make it or not. Cancer have taught me not to blink twice at life, my eyes are wide open, living life to the fullest. I also realized after surviving cancer both times, that I was about to face new beginnings, new hope, do and see more with a whole new prospective on life. I share my story with others hoping to make a positive impact on someone who is ill or otherwise, where they can proceed life in a whole new way. I am 63yrs of age now, and I am cherishing each day, each moment, and through it all, I feel that I am still at my best. I am confident with myself, as well as grateful. I am starting over, doing things I should have done before cancer.
One day, after one of the many surgeries I had during my breast cancer period, and I could remember it as if it was yesterday, I experienced something so real, so peaceful, something of a miracle, that I had to write it down. I turned that experience into a poem, and I called it “Peace”. I took that poem, along with many others I had written, writing had become therapy for me. I am hoping that anyone who may have the opportunity to read my poems, get out of them, what I placed in them, they are as real as any could ever be. My most recent published book is titled, “Cancer, Yet Cancer Again, but I will not Die, before I'm Dead”. I titled it that, because I truly feel that you should not stop living, because you have cancer, and that is exactly what I almost did, when I heard the word cancer. I am a realist, a regular everyday woman, who have overcome many obstacles, which took me to writing, trying to produce inspirational stories. If I had not gone through all that I did, I would have never anticipated such.
The scars and mishaps, that are now attached to my body, due to cancer, are just that, and they are symbols for someone else inspiration and hope. I am thankful, because if I had not struggled, I would not have found my true strengths. I am a true example that you can survive cancer, not once, but twice, providing you get to it in time. I am not saying all will be easy, I am not saying all will survive it, what I am saying, is to have faith, fight with all you have, then hold on. I honestly believe, when and if you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease such as cancer, it is for a reason. You have a purpose, and through that purpose, faith, compassion and strength, true beauty is born.