It’s been three weeks since I learned I have breast cancer.  In that time, we moved over 500 miles away, unpacked over 400 boxes, painted and organized our new home, and searched for an oncologist.  It’s not exactly the way I thought this move would play out.  You see, in my plan we would unpack, build relationships with neighbors, explore our new town, and spread sunshine.  Instead, we’ve had to squeeze unpacking sessions amid doctor appointments, exploring new healthcare providers, and navigating medical decisions.  Rather than building relationships with new friends, I’ve been nurturing patient/oncologist associations.   For someone who has worked hard at finding the silver lining in circumstances, this cancer thing has stretched my limits.

Life throws curveballs.  You either take another swing in the game or you quit.  I’m not a quitter.  Trust me, I’ve had some rough days.  I’m in a new city surrounded by new people and I’m scared.  I’m afraid of what lies ahead.  Surgery, possible double mastectomy, radiation therapy…it’s a lot to process.  How am I going to do this?  How am I going to be brave for my boys when I’m having a “weak day”?  How am I ever going to make new friends when I’m busy fighting cancer?   How am I going to give to my husband when I feel like I’ve lost so much?  I’ve wanted to quit and opt out of this plan God laid out for me.

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Then I see a butterfly, a smile from a stranger, and a thoughtful gesture from a new neighbor.  I begin to feel grace.

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I can either wallow in self-pity or I can choose hope.  I can look for lessons through out this process.  I’ve already been connected to some fabulous women as a result of the diagnosis.  Friends have been pouring love on me and the entire family with encouraging notes, heart-warming cards, thoughtful phone calls, and precious gifts.  I’m amazed over and over again at how much people show up in times of great difficulty.

The silver-lining?  The simple knowledge that life is a beautiful gift if I choose to see it that way.  I can offer hope, kindness, and love even in the midst of storms.

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