Breast cancer can be the catalyst that causes you to look beyond who you thought you were to see who you could become. At least that is what I found to be true for myself. As a result of my breast cancer experience, I wrote a story that was published in Coping Magazine and the Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul Book Series. Jill Eikenberry and Michael Ticker later re-enacted the story for a segment on PAX television.
The title of the story is “No less a Starfish”. Shortly after my first mastectomy, I was walking on the beach, reflecting on the changes in my life and in my self- image. As I glanced down, I found this wonderful starfish. One of its arms was curved and bent around. From some place deep within myself I had this overwhelming awareness…a sense of meaning. This was no less starfish because it had a bent arm ad I am no less a woman because I lost my breasts.
The message I want to share with other is simple. Whatever our life experiences, difficulties, losses, or challenges, we are more than our perceived limitations. Deep within each of us is the spirit to survive…the ability to become all we are meant to be.
Having breast cancer can profoundly change your life and your perceptions. While my outsides may have been altered, certainly my insights about my life have been given a greater depth and spiritual meaning. Strangely enough, I view my breast cancer experience as a unique blessing. I am grateful for the life lessons I have learned and hope I can be there for other women who are called to this challenge.