A New Shade of Pink

11 May

Four times a year, the Idaho Press Tribune publishes a magazine insert called Today’s Woman. This wonderful magazine highlights various articles of interest to the women in our community. The most recent edition was published on Mother’s Day.

No one was more surprised than I was when the editor decided to feature my story on the cover. I’d like to share that story with you. It’s called A New Shade of Pink.

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We’re all survivors of one thing or another, aren’t we? I survived breast cancer.

When I turned forty, I went in for my very first mammogram. It was just routine. I had no lump, no pain, no symptoms whatsoever — but I soon found out that I did have breast cancer. It was invasive and we had not caught it early. That was pretty much my worst birthday ever, but if I hadn’t gotten that mammogram, it probably would have been my last.

I spent the next year undergoing four major surgeries and trying to survive. Then I got hit by a truck. Really. And just as I was starting to get back on my feet, I watched my wonderful father die. From cancer.

During that time, I so badly wanted to develop a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad attitude. I wanted to say bad words. Lots of them. And I wanted to stomp my foot and scream and throw the mother of all tantrums. Those of you who’ve had first-hand experience with this awful disease know what I’m talking about.

But that’s not the best way to survive.

With cancer, all the attention is focused on caring for the body. That’s a good thing, except that it then becomes so easy to neglect the damage that cancer insists upon doing to our emotional and spiritual health.

Determined not to let that happen, I made up my mind to adopt a positive attitude. I simply chose to look on the bright side of a really awful situation. I like to call it a spiritual makeover. It wasn’t easy. But, with the help of family and friends, I was able to find some good in the midst of all the bad.

Along the way, I learned a few things. I learned that I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be; that God’s love can penetrate even the darkest night; that people are capable of amazing acts of compassion; and that a kind word from a stranger could touch my heart.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that surviving is not just about escaping death. It’s about having the faith to accept the gift of each new day we’re given, choosing to embrace our lives and to enjoy every precious moment.

Those of us who can do that, call ourselves survivors.

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One Response to “A New Shade of Pink”

  1. Jaclyn May 12, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Hi Jill. It was so neat seeing you on the cover of the magazine. You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine! Praying, Jaclyn

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