These past couple of months have been tough, really tough. My tenacious spirit has been stretched beyond limits. I've been knocked down, defeated, and even depressed at times (which is just not me). And while I wouldn't invite such troubles into my life, they've managed to slip through an open door without my consent. My human frailty has risen to the top like cream and it's spilling over into every area of my life.
Last week, I was on needles and pins. After my biopsy, it was time to drive back from CA to Oregon for a quiet reprieve. I've always found comfort in familiarity. My surroundings provide a sense of peace, and my cushy bed and pillow offer a cozy resting place too. Southern Oregon has become my retreat and I feel blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest.
When I arrived home, I had a hankering (I love that word) to visit my favorite boutique in Medford Oregon called Prism. Not so much for the shopping, but for the friendship exchanged with the gals who work there. We know each other by name and we've shared a common bond of friendship over the years. When I walked in the door, they said... 'Mel, where have you been?' We shared stories and through laughter and small talk, I began to unwind from my 10-hour drive from Cali.
Then, a young gal entered the store. She was immediately greeted with the same question... 'Where have you been?' I knew instantly that she was a regular too. I eavesdropped a little as she told an all too familiar story... She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she just had a radical mastectomy of both breasts. She said, 'I'm 38 years old and I'm lucky to be alive.'
I was so touched by her story and her beaming spirit, that I walked up to her and said, 'I don't know you, but I'd like to give you a hug!' She turned around and embraced me as if I were family and said thank you! I told her how impressed I was with her courage and positive attitude and that I would be praying for her as she continued to go through the grueling process of reconstruction. Then her parting words really kicked things up a notch. She said she's become a cancer survivor warrior and she's in the process of getting a t-shirt that says... Yes They're Fake... My Real Ones Tried to Kill Me! We laughed hysterically!
Human frailty has a funny way of stretching us beyond our limits and teaching us how to relate to others in the midst of crisis. Hugs and laughter can go a long way in healing the mind, body and spirit. Perhaps that was my needles and pins lesson. Today, my Doctor called and said my tumors are benign. I'm feeling pretty damn lucky too!