I have always enjoyed reading biographies. I guess I can thank my father for this fact. When I was young we would go to the library weekly and come away with a stack of new books. He would always choose one for me to read and it was always a biography.
In preparation for breast cancer awareness month I picked up the book Promise Me, by Nancy Brinker. I was really interested to discover how a single woman could create such a phenomenon as the Susan Komen Foundation. What I learned about this remarkable woman is that her desire to help others was instilled at a very young age. The following is a quote from Nancy’s mother addressing both girls at a very young age.
“People have died for this country. People have sacrificed their lives so you could live in peace and freedom, and all that’s asked of you is that you take care of it. Stewardship. That’s all. You care enough about your community to look after those who aren’t as fortunate as you. When you see someone in need, you give. When you see something wrong, you fix it. Because its your country, it’s your community. You can’t sit around on your duff waiting for someone else to make it better. It’s up to you.”
This statement really struck me. How many of us heard these words growing up? I am younger than Nancy Brinker by a couple of decades and I can say that I did not. Stewardship was a word completely unfamiliar until I became a Christian seven years ago. With this kind of fire in her I can understand how this amazing woman created such a powerful organization. What if everyone had this fire inside, imagine the problems we could solve. Are you up to the challenge?
It was a few years ago that I began to earnestly search for my “sweet spot” as Max Lucado calls it. The spot where who we are created to be intercepts with what we do.
I could inventory my gifts, talents and skills fairly easily but what it was I should do with them eluded me. As I do with so many things, I made the search much harder than it needed to be.
I have traveled quite a distance since I embarked on that journey. Now I know that with each day newness awaits discovery. Sometimes it is in an interaction with a person I am uniquely equipped to have, other times it is in something I have crafted, and at times it is found in the stillness of my morning quiet time.
Last week I attended a nursing conference and discovered this old picture. It says it all so far as I am concerned… I have pasted the link below for the website, it is really quite interesting if you are interested in the women’s progressive movement.
Thanks for reading.
- Cure for the Common Life Max Lucado (myunorderedthoughts.wordpress.com)
Spent the past couple of days having some fun with the camera…one of my newly discovered joys in life! A dear friend has let me borrow one of her camera’s to get a feel for what I might like in a higher end digital of my own.
Yesterday morning we headed out onto the trail. I was excited because there was to be a naturalist photographer on the hike with tips. Here are a few of the pictures from the morning.
Thanks for reading.
My interpretation of this weeks challenge-possibilities.
Second time around for us both, my husband and I on our wedding day are richly blessed with the possibilities that our love brings.
So someone you know has breast cancer.
Of course you want to be a support, a friend so you call.
Here are some pearls of wisdom, again taken from my work with women struggling with the disease.
- First of all be a listener. Your friend has just been given some very difficult information and she needs to talk. You just need to listen.
- Do Not tell them about your co-worker or Great Aunt Kitty, everyone’s treatment is unique.
- Don’t offer up statistics. These are only numbers and often skewed to serve the group presenting the information. Your friend IS NOT a NUMBER.
- Please don’t tell she is strong and will get through this. While this may be very true what she really needs is permission to feel the emotions she is experiencing.
- Be with her for the long haul. Cancer treatment can take almost a year to complete if you need to have surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The struggles and fear go well beyond the first couple of weeks.
- Have I mentioned…be a good listener. You don’t have to say anything in fact it is often better if you don’t.
- She will be tired as her body tries to repair the cells that are damaged. Encourage her to rest. Offer to clean her house or do the laundry.
- Make her a pillow to protect her from the seatbelt harness.
- Buy her a new pair of button up pretty pajama’s to wear when she is recovering from surgery.
- If you are not sure what to say don’t say anything at all, just be there.
While everything written above may sound like “common-sense” I can assure you that it is not. I have heard terrible stories from women struggling with cancer that have had terrible and upsetting things said to them during their treatment. Remember the story and choice(s) are theirs to make, don’t judge or tell them what YOU would do…be thankful that you don’t have to really think about what you would do!
Thanks for reading.
Below is a link to a website that allows you to simply click and money gets added into the breast cancer research fund. Consider taking the extra moment and clicking.
I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world but in the US you would have to have your head buried in the sand to avoid all of the press that is generated this month raising awareness for breast cancer.
I have a few thoughts on the subject that I would like to share at this time and will probably write additional posts this month on the same topic. Some of what I share will be wisdom I have learned in my role as a breast cancer nurse navigator in a large metropolitan cancer center.
There is no reason. Most times we do not know the cause of the cancer.
There are different kinds of breast cancer. The treatment that your best friend’s aunt had is probably different than what you will need.
Filter everything! The internet is full of BAD information~ ask your health care providers for a list of reliable resources and then only check when you are feeling ready. I have left to links at the end of the post.
- If you aren’t comfortable with your doctor seek a second opinion. Believe me they won’t get angry and if they do you don’t want them caring for you anyway.
Take someone you know well to all your initial appointments. You will be given an overwhelming amount of information so a second set of ears will help you recall afterward.
Remember the choice you make is yours alone. Health care professionals can help guide you but YOU need to be comfortable with the decision you make.
You are the most important person right now. Take care of yourself. Be sure to take time to do things you like to do because you will be spending plenty of time doing things you don’t like doing.
Forgive readily. People mean well but truly don’t know what to say to you. In their well meaning words they can say really dumb things.
Bring shirts that either button or zip up the front to wear home from the hospital.
- Ask your surgeon for a referral to physical therapy after you surgery. Not only will it help you get mobile faster the therapist will spend 1:1 time with you. Often there are therapist that specialize in women who have had breast surgery.
My next list will focus on what you can do for your friend or family member that has breast cancer. Thanks for reading.