Looking for and finding Shining Moments was essential to my well-being during treatment. They buoyed me and kept my spirits hopeful from the time of my diagnosis throughout my surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and recovery. Shining Moments gave me the balance and perspective to get me through the darkest of days. The thing about Shining Moments is that they don’t take away things like nausea, constipation or anxiety that can come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, but they do provide a glimmer of hope to get you from one moment to the next. What I know for sure about Shining Moments is that they are always there. All one has to do is look for them.
The ultimate Shining Moment of my breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery is to try to make it better for those who have to follow me down this difficult path. This is why I am sharing my story, through my voice and words.
From the perspective as both a caretaker and patient, I am the experienced girlfriend who wants to help shed some light on the darkness, bring order to the chaos and hold your hand throughout your experience.
In April 2008, I learned firsthand how life changes in an instant. My peaceful life was interrupted in an abrupt, unimaginable way when I felt a stabbing pain in my left breast. Immediately, I began the long ride down the twisting and pot-hole-filled road into The Pink Bubble.
I’ve always been a half-full kind of girl. When I was diagnosed, my first thought was: This could have been so much worse. It was at this moment, literally from the time of my diagnosis, that I became conscious of the need for optimism and began looking for (and finding!) Shining Moments.
Here’s what I know for sure about Shining Moments:
- Shining Moments come in little and big packages. From watching a red-breasted robin outside of my bedroom window (because I was too sick to stand) to being cancer-free (after enduring the longest and most painful year of my life), Shining Moments are present. All you have to do is look for them.
- Shining Moments don’t take away the pain, but they do provide balance and perspective. Pain and sadness are important and valuable feelings that need to be processed during and after any rotten experience. The beauty of Shining Moments is that they don’t take away the rain. Rather, they provide an umbrella.
- Finding Shining Moments is a choice. Sometimes it is a really, really hard choice. For example, one day when I was in the bottomless pit of despair and found myself laying on my bathroom floor unable to get the six feet to my bed, I looked for a Shining Moment. I knew that one would appear. At the moment — the precise moment — I looked for the Shining Moment, my cats came into the bathroom floor and sat with me until I could muster the strength to get to my bed.
One Shining Moment of my breast cancer experience is that I have learned that inexplicable tragedy creates an opportunity to take righteous anger and sadness and turn it into a force for doing good. No it’s not easy. I would never sugarcoat the fact that it can be hard. But what I do know for sure is that dumbfounding circumstances and even outrage can be redirected and channeled into action that yields positive outcomes. This is the ultimate Shining Moment.