By Monica C. Voskamp
I can’t imagine. Hearing the diagnosis, my brain halting in time while the doctor continues to speak and then fumbling through a daze of shock while appointments, tests, surgery were being scheduled. I can try imagine, but I can’t understand. I can’t because I haven’t been there. I’m just here wondering, what it would be like? How would I react? How do you women possibly take in those life-alternating and shocking words:
You have breast cancer.
I think of my femininity. To possibly lose my breasts. My long hair. I can’t grapple the loss. I’d fight so hard against it. To lose my energy, to watch strong drugs take over my physical capability and strengths. I’d wonder if I’ll ever be whole again, because I sure wouldn’t feel it. I’d feel powerless.
Would I still be looked at, accepted the same…still wanted as a woman. I’d wonder if people would only see the cancer diagnosis instead of seeing me.
Would they forget to see me??
What has opened my heart to try understand is the 3rd woman in my family is going through breast cancer, facing the fears, trying to be & showing brave while the chaos of fear, vulnerability, loss, unknowns, shock churn inside. Three women in my family… that’s just one family in this world.
I didn’t realize how many women are impacted. But as I’ve prepared for the breast cancer fundraiser, Run for the Cure, it’s awakened me. I’ve heard more stories of women with breast cancer. The lady at the bank…I never realized she has a loved one going through stage 4 breast cancer. People mask and carry so much pain, battle such unfair wars.
They are all brave women. Courageous women. I imagine behind those beautiful faces–all the faces of women dealing with breast cancer-is a sorrow too deep that no one whose traveled their journeys can ever comprehend. Sorrow, anger, confusion, denial, and fear.
How do you support such beautiful warriors of humanity? I don’t know.
I don’t know. And that aches inside.
Each women is uniquely them, and each women responds to loss, to the awful disease of breast cancer in their own way. But I know they can’t do it alone. I couldn’t. And the women I see in my family, they are pushing through with the help of others who are doing their best to walk alongside. These warriors of women need to know they are still loved. Still beautiful. Still called by their own name, not defined by cancer.
If it was me, and with my health diseases that I’ve battled, I’ve found people sometimes skirt the topic, are very oblivious to the disease itself, to the loss that comes with it, to the draining discouragements of doctor after doctor, medication after medication..and still not feel the winning. People simply don’t know how to be supportive, to react, and to understand. It’s an awkward learning.
We all speak and receive love in our own ways. I think that’s a good place to start. Love.
Love comes with a meal, comes with a gas card, comes with a handwritten note or text. Love comes with beautiful flowers, with a gentle hug, with doing something happy to let our women feel a sense of normal in a journey that has thrown “normal” out the window. We each can find a way to love, even if its not so graceful. In the end, humans can’t do, aren’t meant to, battle alone.
We need each other. To the women who are battling breast cancer, know we others can’t possible understand. We still love you and apologize for our lack of …all the things we wish we could be for you.
I don’t know what’s its like to do breast cancer’s journey. I don’t. And I’m so sorry you do.
I just know walking in a woman’s body, soul and spirit..to feel our incredible nature to nurture, to feel our fiery emotions, to give from the depths of our being for those we love, to walk with curves that turns heads, to feel helpless to give what we cannot, to shine a power men could never shine….I know walking in this.
I don’t know walking in the road of breast cancer.
But we woman can still see your beautiful spirit, soul and yes, your body too and the way you can carry yourself with dignity as you battle loss. Your body will change. We will see that, and mourn your losses. We can’t understand, but we feel pain with you, to see you experience loss and wrestle through it. We women & the rest of this good in this world are believing to work for a cure and fight to light healing hope for you.
We do celebrate this–the gift of your inner person that can never be changed. You are always irreplaceable you. And we couldn’t imagine life without you. We need you too. You bring a priceless beauty to our lives, and this world.
When words fall short though… know you are still lovable you. And though it comes out awkward many times, we love you and are here to empower you. You will shine your own achingly beautiful womanhood while doing breast cancer.
Always love. Always believe. Always hope will never cease to be. ❤
Click below to support this Sunday’s Run for the Cure my family is participating in for all our breast cancer warriors, including my aunt. ❤