Without questioning, when going through a serious illness, you learn to know what true beauty really is, as well as true love. You find out who’s there at this most critical time of your life.
I know this all too well, because I’ve experienced many trials and tribulations in my life. One particular trial was having to raise my child alone after a broken marriage. For a while, you feel as if you did something wrong and that your life is over, because when that door closes, you can’t see far enough to see another one opening. You feel as if the world you know, is ending. But thanks to my child, I found the strength, picked myself up and kept it moving.
Life was rough and very hard and at times, I didn’t think I would make it, but because of the unconditional love of my child, I made it.
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After seeing the joy and smiles she brought to my life each and everyday, I knew I had a purpose. Through our lives together, I gain my strength and more confidence in myself. My self-esteem came back with full force and I was loving myself all over again. I had a new beginning, all on my own.
But later in life, things turned around yet again in a negative way, in a way like no other. I had a head-on collision with not only breast cancer, but colon cancer as well, and it changed my entire outlook on life.
I thought I had it rough years before, but going through cancer was the rest of the iceberg. There’s nothing like it. You wonder what in life had you done so wrong to have this placed upon you. Why were you given this? Yet through my tragedies and all that I had to endure, it all became an awakening for me, in which I received all the strength and encouragement from and through the life I had with my daughter, and now my grandchildren.
Their love was the greatest purpose to fight cancer and live. Through it all, I found what true beauty really is. Through all the chemo, radiation, the pain I endured, I still felt beautiful. I found myself looking in the mirror even more during this time, because I thought that what I had gone through would change me drastically, but as I saw the imperfections I now have to live with, over time it got better, and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I felt that I gained even more beauty, because this time the beauty was authentic.
Whether we’re dealing with an illnesses or any other negative feelings about ourselves or our bodies, we need to be our own cheering section. Through all my mishaps, I’m still beautiful and it’s real. Yes, there’s a lot of things out in the world to enhance our beauty, but we also need to feel beautiful and proud of who we are without the enhancements.
I’ve come to realize that even going through such a dark time in my life, I have life that has to be lived, and I’m going to live it to the fullest. When I think about the individuals that are no longer among us due to such a horrific disease, I’m truly grateful and I will not take life for granted. Through it all, I’m still me, and I didn’t allow the disease to take away who I am, or what I stand for.
I’m a survivor, as well as an example to show that my small mishaps are just that, and I can go on and still look and feel beautiful, and it shines brighter. Each passing day got even brighter, because I was able to see and appreciate it that much more.
Still today, I would look at the areas of my body where surgery was performed, and how it was transformed and it bothers me. But within a moment I would look past it, because those areas could be covered up. True beauty is within and when you feel beautiful on the inside, it shows so clearly on the outside.
Honestly, I could not have done or felt the way I did and still do, without my children. I feel within my heart that I survived cancer both times, to share my life with and through them, while sharing my story with others. I share my story with others hoping to make a positive impact on someone who’s ill or otherwise, where they can proceed life in a whole new way and still feel beautiful along the way.
We as women should never allow anything, or any circumstance to steal our joy, nor our self esteem.
Through any tragedy, we are and always will be beautiful!
When I look back now, I must say, from the beginning I thought right away that my cancer diagnose was truly a death sentence. But I found out later that it was truly an awakening. I also realized that I was about to face a new beginning, new hope, do and see more with a whole new perspective on life.
I’m still among the living, and through it all I’m still beautiful, so who am I to complain? I truly believe when you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease such as cancer, it’s for a reason. You have a purpose, and through that purpose, compassion, strength and true beauty is born.
Submitted by Karen Rice, a fierce and beautiful 2-time cancer survivor.
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