By Guest Blogger Susan Wener
Resilience is a story of hope, faith, belief, and triumph.
At one point in our lives, no matter who we are, or how much we have, the rug will get pulled out from underneath us.
Resilience is my story, spanning over 30 years. It is one filled with physical, emotional and spiritual challenges as well as one filled with laughter, peace and joy.
I was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was just 36 years old . My three daughters were 8, 12 and almost 14 at the time. Although I knew if I died it would be very difficult and painful for my husband, he was not the one I was concerned about. What would happen to my girls? They were so young. They had barely begun to live their lives. Was it a possibility that they would end up watching their mother lose hers? That very thought took my breath away. There was still so much left to do, so much more to teach them. They needed to be armed with tools and strategies to help them become strong, independent and successful young women. I had to stay alive long enough to help them with that.
Initially I went to the library and to bookstores and read everything I could on colon cancer. Then I started reading books written by survivors who had experienced some kind of cancer. I wanted to model those who had made it. What did they eat? What did they think? What did they do? I was desperate for guidance. No matter how hard I looked, I could not find anything written by anyone who had made it ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the road. When a crisis happens, it is easy to write about it right away. When a plane crashes, a mine collapses, or a tsunami hits, we read remarkable heroic stories written almost immediately after the event. But what happens after the initial crisis is over? For someone who has had cancer, can it ever really be over? Would I always live a life in the shadow of this terrible disease? Would I become defined by it? Could my children ever feel safe in their skins having had a sick mother?