After sharing my diagnosis with friends within my office, they offered to treat me to lunch with a promise of fun and laughter. While at that lunch today, and amongst the giggles, they surprised me with a gift – the Alex & Ani bracelet “Young & Strong”. It represents “Faith, Hope, Determination” and is completely perfect. They knew exactly what I needed – food, friends, laughter and a reminder that I am loved.
I often hear people tell me how strong I am and that my strength will get me through this journey. I can’t help but smile when I hear this because I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel any stronger than I did a month ago or even a year ago. I don’t feel strong in the moments that reality sinks in and the battle ahead looms. I don’t feel strong after I finish a day of testing and cry because I ordered an iced coffee and was given a hot coffee. Fear, anxiety and the unexpected await me each day.
This is an unexpected detour in life. Amidst all of this uncertainty, I remind myself there is only one path forward. There is no alternative, no negotiating, and no second or third option. There is only the future – treatment. Treatment that will allow me to be the Maid of Honor in my baby sister’s wedding and a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding next year (even if I show up in an afro!). Treatment that will allow me to watch my son grow up. Treatment that will allow me to grow old with my husband. Treatment that will enable me to have a lifetime ahead of me filled with happy surprises, belly laughs and the most amazing memories.
Faith, hope and determination is what I have right now. Why? Because of my family. Because of my friends. Because you believe in me and you believe that I can beat this.
That’s what keeps me going. You give me strength.