My body has been beaten up by this disease. It will remain scared for the rest of my life. But it is my choice what light will shine out of this body. I want it to be an aura of pinks and yellows. I envision colour when I become dismayed by what I see. I choose for people to see the pink & yellow before they see what is physically standing in front of them.
This isn’t something I wanted to have to address, but I am who I am now because of what I have lived in the past. I can’t pretend I don’t have one.
I am strong because I have to be. Because I have been weak and alone. I have had to sort through life’s experiences, what has happened to me and what has become of me for living through it. Half of my genetic makeup is because of a man who does not deserve to be named. I have felt bad about myself in the past, thinking that that evil was inside of me because of him. I am not grateful for any of the lessons I had to learn in order to live through the abuse. That person holds no responsibility for the woman I am now. The only good thing I can say about him is that he showed me everything I would never have wanted, to find a total opposite of a man if I was to make him my husband.
And I did. I am so very grateful to my amazing husband because he is strong, kind, forgiving, compassionate – ok this list can go on with every word that means fantastic, or ‘nutritious & delicious’ as he says.
But like every good bully, who must breakdown others in order to build themselves up, that genetic donator has decided to harass me again. Immediately after reading his hurtful comments on one of my blog pieces I tried with shaking hands to delete my WordPress presence. I cried because this would shut me off from an outlet that has helped me and would prevent me from connecting with women who understand. But that’s letting him win. And as much as I would like to sit back and let him I can’t. I’m a fighter, a Warrior. I did not let cancer takeover my life. I am trying to not let it continue to terrorize me with fear of re-occurrence. If I have to live that battle I can’t let something like an evil man get in my way. There is something deeply wrong and broken inside that man but I will not take on the burden to figure out what it is or engage.
I had wanted my next piece to be about the strength of my body. Talk about what I am finding I can do again now that it’s healing. Reflect on the positive experiences I have had through cancer charities and the community. I guess instead it’s about strength of soul.
Jennifer: Beautiful, Strong & Resilient
Self-care is a huge part of healing the inside wounds. This is something that can be hard to accept. During treatment, I sometimes didn’t feel like I should look for more attention. Every day I had wonderful people around me, caring for me. I often said it’s much easier being the one with cancer rather than the caretaker, because as the patient I had a plan, a team of doctors, an active role to play in my health. But I learned self-care is simply taking a moment to appreciate yourself. To calm the voice in your head, to think about something that makes you feel good instead of the pain your physical body is in. Some days that meant I needed to go to the mall and buy a new top, others it was having a cup of peppermint tea and enjoying the warm and aroma from that. It is covering up the inside scars with pinks & yellows.
Love is a verb. It is all around me. Through the actions of my dear friends, family and incredible nurses and doctors who go out of their way to check in on me. Their love inspires me to pass it on. To fill my world with kind and positive actions.
Jennifer Van Dusen is a 30-something breast cancer champion who loves her husband, fur-kids, shopping, reading, and public speaking. Having cancer has taught her to live each day to the fullest, to appreciate the moment, and do what she can to help others and her community.