I was asked to write a letter to someone recently diagnosed with breast cancer… I immediately said I would be honored to do so. Days passed since I accepted the request and the more I thought about it, I couldn’t seem to come up with the words. What would I say? Why should I say something at all? The more I thought about it, the harder it seemed to write. So I didn’t.
Now today, January 12, 2016 I have decided to write that letter;
Dear Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patient,
I don’t think I should be writing to you, because if I am honest I never imagined I would have cancer. I am certain you never thought you would either. I know that this letter addressed to you does not seem like you should be the one reading it. The words patient and survivor are words spoken about others, not to you. I wish I could tell you that you get used to being called that. Or that one day you will feel like you belong in the cancer club but if I am honest you never do. Its the club you are in that you never wanted to be apart of. The club you show up too but somehow you wonder why they let you in. You look around at the other members and think wow they are so much more qualified than I. You say things in your mind about how hard it must be for them, never realizing that you yourself are one of them. So that is where I start.
You have cancer and believe it or not it is the most beautiful heartbreaking journeys you will ever encounter.
For whatever reason your story is being written without your input, it is being written just as it should because the truth of our stories is they are never up to us. I believe that there is a God that loves you and I both and in the depths of our heartbreak, our stories are still really incredible. Breast Cancer included.
So while you are living this nightmare I would encourage you to trust it. Try not to fight it. I can assure you even in your deepest hurts you are being made into something new. You get the tremendous privilege of living on the edge of life and while it remains scary it is one of the most beautiful ways to live.
Try not to miss the moments when others show up on your step and offer to help. Allow others to move closer to you. I can promise you that while it may seem suffocating it is the only way you will be able to make it through. It is really special to do life on the wings of others. I urge you to do so. Take flight on the wings of those around you. Close your eyes and allow others to carry you through. Life is really beautiful that way.
When it comes to taking care of yourself give yourself the gift of respect by being present with your feelings. You will feel angry, sad, cry, laugh and cry some more. Allow the tears to fall, the laughter to fill a room and the silence to be the gift of a moment.
I could tell you tips on surviving chemotherapy, a masectomy, how to use scar tape, tell you what it is like to loose your nipples, or to feel like you lost your femininity but none it matters if the cancer journey passes and you missed it. I have no other recommendations to offer than urge you to allow your story to be the beautiful story that it is. Believe that even heartbreak and sorrow can show you life in the most tender of ways. I believe God loves you so very much and I can assure you, that you will never ever be alone in this journey.
Thinking and praying for you as your journey begins,
Love Kristina (A 28 year old breast cancer survivor)
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or death.” (Philippians 1: 19-20)