Finding My Own Peace 


Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Since Finding Peace is the story of a breast cancer survivor, I find it fitting to discuss this month and acknowledge its.

    It’s a month I look forward to and dread.  The dreading comes because my cancer was diagnosed in October. Who wants to rehash a bad memory?

    I also enjoy October because it's the month my daughter was born and Fall is here, the leaves are changing color here in Iowa, and many wonderful breast cancer advocates are sharing tons of interesting information. 

    I love bright pink and have several blouses and shirts in that color.  But I don’t wear pink to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and please don’t wear it for me.  Wearing a color does not make the illness go away; I hope it perhaps alerts people that breast cancer is an ongoing horrible thing.  But with my Metastatic Breast Cancer diagnosis, I would ask that you look into donating to an organization where money goes to research for those of us facing terminal cancer.

    Some MBC patients hope that research finds a cure.  That would be amazing and wonderful. Other hope that research will find medications that help turn a terminal illness into chronic.  (Think of diabetes and the use of medication to help those with that illness.)  I’ll admit that I wish the second would happen soon so that I can look forward to a normal age span.  But I’d love a cure … and who among my cancer-stricken brethren would not like that to happen? 

    As a resilient person, I tend to look at the positive side of life most of the time. Like anybody else, I have my days where things are not rosy. But I’m not the type to stay in bed under the covers.

    I’d like to reflect on what I find positive during a time where many are struggling to find a light.

    My granddaughters are amazing.  

    Yes, I know, all grandmothers think that.  But understand that for the first three years of the oldest ERB’s life, I did not live near her.  I saw her at Christmas and in the summer.  Living near her now, seeing her most days, playing tea party, school, fairies, library, or just “let’s ‘tend (pretend), Grandma!” makes me very happy. And one of the happiest days was last year when we raked leaves and watched Emma repeatedly jump in.  Too much fun. This year I got to see her light up when watching hot air balloons.  Believe me, that made taking all those horrid meds worth it.

    My other granddaughter is not yet one.  But she’s so much fun already, toddling around (getting quicker every day) and finding anything she can to put in her mouth.  Her mother calls her a Busy Baby. I loved it during our mutual vacation and for the  days they lived here while waiting to close on a new house when I would wake in the morning to her ‘squawking’ (her father’s word). I would come out, smile at her, and say hello, and get the biggest smile back.  Ah!  Gets me every time and keeps me going.

    Another positive - all of my children live near me.  I find that amazing because my husband and I chose to live away from our families. I understand how our mothers must have felt when we moved away. To be able to not only talk to, but see my kids is wonderful. 

    My children are my rescuers.  I don’t often think about my risk for getting Covid – and I should. My kids force me to see that some of the things I want to do could jeopardize my immunocompromised self.  It’s gratifying to have them all rally around my cause. There’s not a day when one of them doesn’t ask me how I’m doing. I love these adults, and their new loves that have also come into our life.

    When I contemplate having cancer during coronavirus times, I actually find a bit of peace.  Cancer Havers know how to protect themselves.  We’re schooled about avoiding crowds of people during treatment (a rule I did not always follow), about wearing masks if we have to go into crowds (something I did do on airplanes or at conference events), and to be diligent for situations that could make things worse for us.  Washing hands?  No problem.  Masks? I’ve had N95 masks before I knew what the N95 stood for. Even now that things seem – once again – to have lightened up concerning Covid, I wear a mask in stores. I wonder if I, as a cancer haver, will need to do that for the rest of my life.  I even knew how to protect myself when we moved from California to Iowa eighteen months ago.

    My story of cancer haver Lynn Cerami was written well before the Coronavirus. Whenever she discusses cancer – which happens in all the books, she worries:  Will it come back?  It is a normal concern for anyone who’s had breast cancer. Lynn doesn’t want to burden Donovan with worry about her, but it’s too late.  He loves her.  Eventually, she realizes that life goes on and accepts that she’s been given a chance for happiness.

    And that’s what I try to see.  I have wonderful family and fun grandchildren. They all live nearby. I’m feeling well, (and yes, it could all change in a minute – there’s that downside that creeps in), and I’m looking forward to sharing more stories about resilient people.  Lynn has been a character in all the Tales of Resilience, but the next book, Fine Just Fine, features Asia, an older woman who decides Enough is Enough when her cancer returns.  I respect this decision just as I respected my father when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer and decided against treatment. But I probably identify more with the character of Deb who will be in Confidentiality (hopefully coming out in Spring, 2022), a person whose cancer has returned and who is scared to death about her future.

    And I just realized another downer to Pink Month:  the constant, 31 days of being banged over the head about cancer.  Bad enough when you’re healthy to see all that pink stuff, but as a cancer haver, it’s like being harassed. Physical harassment, verbal harassment -  how about Cancer harassment!  That’s what I feel during October.

    So, go head.  Wear your pink every day if that’s your thing. Purchase pink ribbon pins and items with pink on them.  (I admit that I have a few.) Please donate if you are able. Me?  I’m looking forward to getting through my October oncologist’s visit still stable and going on to Thanksgiving.

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About the Author

I'm a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and very much not perfect. My own multiple health problems led me to write about women who experience life's traumas, but bounce back because they are resilient. I strive to bring happily ever afters to all my characters.

On Word and Upward!