The road to healing from breast cancer has been full of potholes, detours and navigational challenges. In these difficult moments, when a straight and uncomplicated path seems elusive, a response is often to seek a mentor, role model, celebrity whose narrative details their navigation from dark days to seeming paradise.
I’ve found myself looking for or renting movies that recount stories of survival, tenacity, resilience and courage. They highlight the strength of someone I admire for their ability to, against the odds, persevere and prevail. I’ve used this for motivation; watched the movie or read the books or the magazine article. It’s fine to look outside for influences that can inspire and motivate us. But, I know for sure that the most inspiring person with the most motivational story, the most compelling example of fortitude is you. The role model you seek is the person looking at you in the mirror.
- The young survivor who pursues her PhD all while managing recurrences and multiple new treatments; a message to breast cancer that you won’t erase my dreams.
- The mother of two young children who trains and completes a marathon in the midst of treatment; a message to breast cancer that you won’t take my physical strength.
- The woman who’s battled breast cancer and ovarian cancer multiple times, undergoes a multitude of physically challenging treatments but continues to travel nationally and internationally to advocate for legislation for breast cancer patients and increased funding for research; a message to breast cancer that even if you keep coming, I’ll keep going.
- The young woman who takes “breaks” from chemo nausea to plan a magical and unforgettable birthday party for her daughter to maintain some normalcy for her young child; a message to breast cancer that you won’t destroy all of the treasured moments in my life.
Sometimes our strength is in simply getting up to face another breast cancer day. THE FIGHT. THE GRIT. THE RESOLVE. Even in the midst of their breast cancer battles, they fight for themselves and others, hold on to dreams and keep traveling down the road, regardless of potholes, detours and navigational challenges. Some are your stories. Some are my stories. They are a potent reminder of the strength that we all have as breast cancer survivors; of the dogged determination that we draw from a well that may, at times, seem empty. We push forward against and despite the odds. The next time you need to be motivated and encouraged, reflect on your own incredible story, tap into your own fuel, step in front of and be uplifted by the role model in the mirror.
Melanie A. Nix – Triple negative breast cancer survivor. Resilience Coach, Reconstructionist™ and Health and Wellness Advocate. Always striving to color outside of the lines when defining my new normal.