Matthew 7:1 says “Judge not, that ye be not judged”
So I got a note on a LinkedIn group I am a member of about a new breast cancer survivor book called The Blessings & Bling which is by Sheron C. Patterson and described on Amazon thusly:
Review“If there is such a thing as a fresh balm for an ancient woman-pain, Dr. Sheron Patterson has done it! Breast Cancer is a wound at the intersection between the maternal and the erotic, and it punches a hole in the heart of our feminine self. This book gives us a needle, thread and luxurious fabric, to hand-stitch ourselves back together again — and to fashion life with more beauty, and more meaning, than we could have imagined it before the disease. Read this book – then buy two more! One for some woman in a cancer battle; and another for any companion who needs to comprehend the journey.” –Reverend Dr. Claudette Anderson Copeland, D.Min., Pastor, New Creation Christian Fellowship, San Antonio, Texas Author COMING THROUGH THE DARKNESS: Cancer and One Woman’s Journey to Wholeness 20 Year Survivor…, it reminds us of the God who dresses us in gratitude and compassion. >> –The Revd Dr. Joy J. Moore, PhD >> >> Professor of Homiletics and the Practice of Ministry Duke University, Durham, North CarolinaAbout the AuthorSheron C. Patterson is a grateful breast cancer survivor who believes in helping others survive on a national and an international basis. In 2006, Dr. Patterson was diagnosed with breast cancer. She turned what could have been a tragedy into a triumph by creating numerous wellness and breast cancer awareness programs that touched thousands. As a result, The Patterson Pledge, Mammograms for the Masses and Breast Cancer Builds were created. Whether she hosted international delegations of breast cancer survivors, or encouraged women who live in homeless shelters, Dr. Patterson has a message that lifts persons from all walks of life. Dr. Sheron C. Patterson is an author of eight books that empower and encourage…… She is an ordained United Methodist pastor with twenty years as senior pastor. Her most recent book is, The Blessings and Bling: How Faith and Fashion helped me survive breast cancer.
This is obviously a bit of a faith-based tome, and face it when you are facing breast cancer, you need your faith and to have faith. So that’s o.k.
But the title of this hit a tin note with me. I am all for lightening the mood as I have had to do it, but if I went on title alone, I would not buy the book.
However, it is not my place to judge or judge a book by it’s cover as this is obviously one good woman who has done a lot for her fellow man (and woman.)
I am all for treating yourself as you face cancer milestones, but shop responsibly. The bills of breast cancer can stress the crap out of you, so while you should treat yourself, manage your expenses.
Sorry, but even though I like a little splurge now and then I am inherently practical. I never spend what I can’t pay off in a month, maybe two tops. Just a personal best practice.
But in spite of a title that is just not me, this woman is not off base. I have to tell you again how breast cancer strikes at the core of a woman’s femininity. It’s still hitting on mine, some days pretty hard. Tamoxifen is necessary, but I don’t like it and I don’t like how it makes me feel. Truthfully, some days I feel so ugly and blobular. I am making a concentrated effort to exercise and eat better but the physical, emotional, and psychological effects are very real and can’t be discounted.
I am just lucky that I have a support system like I have in my sweet man. He is realistic but he does compliment me – something my ex never really did. My ex would say helpful things like “are you going to wear that?” if he said anything at all. Most of the time I was invisible and that is something that is going to take time to fade because it was damaging. When I see myself through my sweet man’s eyes, it makes all the difference.
A website I would encourage survivors and those entering this journey to check out is Surviving Beautifully . It’s part of a larger project and Victoria Tillotson is amazing. Also check out breascancer.org and Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Yesterday I had to stop and get gas. When I went into the mini mart to pay there was a sweet woman on undetermined age who waited on me. She had a horrible case of lymphedema. I knew she was a survivor. She must have known from the look on my face that I knew because she said softly to me “How long for you? For me 6 1/2 years.” I told her one year June 1st and it was an oddly nice moment in an unexpected place.
My sweet man and I are settling into our future and I am a step-mother in training to a child who has become the child of my heart. When they say God closes a window and opens the door, he’s not kidding.
I am still looking for a new job, and have discovered courtesy of the Commonwealth of PA that they have many ways to turn you down for unemployment compensation. You know how all states say take available work?
I found out last week that $75.00 I earned and reported for selling a few photos to a local paper puts me into independent contractor status and in spite of my former job which counted as normal earnings from an employer, apparently they may be able to use that as a loophole to deny my claim. Not that they might not do it already because I resigned a high stress job because of my health. Except there, I have my doctors who wanted me to change my career. The system is crazy – they say they want to put you back to work, yet the actions seem to encourage people to lie or not work.
Now that all is said and done I will tell you what paid the bills the past few years: I was a Compliance Officer in the financial services industry for an SEC registered entity. Very high stress. It robbed me of years of sleep and gave me high blood pressure. Before I took this last job I actually had low blood pressure.
Just over a month out of that job I am starting to feel more like my old self. You don’t realize what stress can do to you until you lift yourself out of a stressful situation. I am starting to sleep again. Some nights it’s not so good because of the Tamoxifen and hot flashes, but as I reduce my stress, the hot flashes aren’t as wicked or as frequent.
This disease, it is in an evolving journey.
I’m still learning. About myself and others. I have come far in a year and my life is changing. I have actually started to learn to accept changes more easily.
Walk on, people. Walk on. You define your life, not a disease or disorder.
I hear ya on the tamoxifen side-effects. Ugh! I’m right there with you.