BREAST CANCER

Who or What are You Fighting For?

By Leah Taylor

I’ve thought about this for a long time. We all need a target. Especially when we are fighting cancer, we need a reason to acheive or reach for that next rung in the ladder. Are you fighting for family, or friends, or an ideal? Do you picture a child or grandchild? Do you picture an idea that makes you stronger? When the day is over, every CT, MRI, or blood test has a reason or person or ideal attached to it. You can deny it, but not me. I can absolutely confirm it as a reality for me. I have a reason or, multiple reasons.

For me, its easy. I fight for the three reasons that have given me breath since they arrived and were placed in my arms. Then, it’s the grandkids that have followed. Two hardworking son’s and a hardworking daughter have proven to me: life is worth living. Notice I didn’t say perfect. I said: the reasons that have given me breath. And they do.

The reality is that no matter how much I love them, I feel a particularly strong need to fight for them because I passed on a dreaded genetic mess. This means I have to work for them in a stronger capacity than I might ordinarily feel.

Knowing that I passed on a dreaded BRCA mutation has me humbled and very focused. I know that they may be standing in my shoes at some point. That thought cuts me to my core. I don’t want my children and grandchildren suffering because of something I’ve passed on to them. Since I get no choice in the matter, that means I must be especially focused and aware of choices I make.

I recall discussing with my uncle the fact that our family line was passing on a genetic mutation shortly after it was confirmed. He shared something from my grandfather that had me both sadened and dismayed. He said my grandfather asked him to apologize to his grandchildren on his deathbed. At first, I didn’t really understand, as it took me awhile to process. I wanted to reach accross time and tell my grandfather it wasn’t his fault. I wanted to hug him and tell him we don’t get to pick our genes. Mostly, I wanted to tell him “It’s ok.”

Oddly, now I find myself in the same shoes. I want to appologize to my kids and grandkids. I want them to know this crap is not easy. It’s not anything I wish on my worst enemy. Mostly, I want to appologize to them. You see, I finally get it. I am so sorry some of them must walk this road that I am walking.

I have determined that nothing in life is easy. And, therefore, I find what I am fighting for is them. I focus on this mess I have passed on to them. For me it’s not a nebulous concept. You see, for me, I really picture those three kids that my life has revolved around. And then, it’s those grandkids that make me laugh and laugh and burst with pride.

I also have found a solidarity of faith in this mess or journey. With each passing step, I hope my faith becomes stronger. We each must find our own way, if it’s faith, if it’s family, whatever our focus might be. Maybe, just maybe, it’s both.

I think without a focus, we can never find our way. What is your focus? What lights your way in the middle of a long, dark, night of fighting cancer?  How do you find your way?

“We have little control over the circumstances of life. We can’t control the weather or the economy, and we can’t control what other people say about or do to us. There is only one area where we have control–we can rule the kingdom inside. The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart.”

-Warren Weirsbe

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