From the second we hear “you have breast cancer,” we begin talking in terms of what stage cancer we have. Stages are assigned according to size of primary tumor, lymph node involvement and whether or not your cancer has spread but, what if we consider another stage? Stage Now? “Having a life” as opposed to “having cancer.”
Too many of us let our survival mindset be determined by the stage of our cancer, even though many of us know of cases that prove ‘stage’ is not always an accurate predictor of survival. Take Lance Armstrong who in 1996, was diagnosed with Stage IV testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. His doctors gave him less than a 3 percent chance of survival, and we all know chapter and verse of that story! If Lance Armstrong had embraced the odds his doctor’s had given him, it is quite possible he would not have survived.
Instead Lance Armstrong went through the ravaging treatment protocols prescribed by his doctors, and three years later not only won perhaps the most grueling sporting event in the world—the Tour de France—but beat his nearest competitor by 7 minutes, 37 seconds. Now that’s somebody with Stage Now! He has a life to lead, bikes to ride, new and different goals to accomplish. Not only did he refuse to become a statistic, his victory has led the way for all who come after him to strive and survive. His life is one of courage and determination and as his mother says, “make every obstacle an opportunity.”
And so my sisters, YOU are in Stage Now. What are you going to do with it? Are you going to sit in fear of death (we all do that from time to time) or are you going to live the best lives you can?
I challenge you to make a list of the things you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try, or were going to do “someday.” Parasailing, learning to play the guitar, apologizing to someone you’ve wronged, learning to dance, visiting another country. Make a list and do them, one by one. You’ve already done the hard part. If you can go through breast cancer, you can do anything!