I started this blog a few years back to document my life through running and being a breast cancer survivor. I titled it ‘At My Starting Line’ to represent the new starting point I had after breast cancer and a play on words since I’m a runner. Everything has a starting point, right? I try to keep it positive and more about running. However, lately I’ve whined about hitting a major milestone in life – it’s just a number. One that a few people I know didn’t make because of breast cancer. I knew of someone who said their goal was to be 30. And I thought geez, everyone should be able to reach that goal…but this person didn’t make it.
I contemplated hanging up my pink ribbon. Sometimes being a survivor is too much too handle. Too much emotion, too many politics on which organization to support, too much fear of my own that it might come back. Sometimes, I just want to forget that it happened to me. Sometimes, I just want to be known for something else, there’s more to be than being a cancer survivor.
Every time I’m ready to hang up the ribbon and just be me, someone else I know is diagnosed. And I’m immediately transported to that day, that hour, that minute, that I got the same news and that fear of the unknown. I know it’s not about me, it’s about them now. Still, my heart breaks and I contemplate not saying anything, not offering support, or resources that I’ve learned over the years. I don’t do this out of meanness or lack of sharing but I do this because I’m not sure I can go through those emotions yet again. But that feeling of backing away only lasts a few moments. I remember what it’s like to be completely overwhelmed and fear of not knowing what the future looks like. I remember of needing to be hopeful of hearing the success stories and not giving in to where the mind wants to go of thinking the worst will happen.
This week I was told of a work acquaintance was diagnosed with breast cancer. My heart breaks for them. Hearing those words will totally rock your world no matter what age or place you are in your career. For the last two jobs I’ve held, I’ve made it open that I was a survivor and what I did to get where I was…to show I was determined to be successful no matter what and that nothing will bring me down. With my new position, I kept it a secret, I didn’t want anyone to know. But with this news, I couldn’t help but send this person a note, tell them they aren’t alone and I know what they’re going through. I’ll be here if they need me. That’s all I can do. I can hope with them.
I guess I’m not ready to hang up that ribbon after all.