Breast Cancer Resource Center Savannah, GA USA

Radiation: Trauma and Cookie Dough

What is behind the pink and the pretty: both the patient’s hospital and graduation gowns?  On the outside you may see us rocking our smiles or pushing forward with life; afterall, that’s the point, that’s what we ultimately want…to keep on living, so let’s do it!  We may put on our pink and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (or we may not), and make no mistake, we OWN that…we own all of it!  However, lets not gloss over the element that fuels our strength in the first place. 

For those who know me, you’ve likely heard me say this already; but I’ll say it again for those who either haven’t yet heard it or for those who need another good dose of remembering it (as I myself sheepishly raise my hand here too…I’m human). 

You’re strength exists not because you’ve avoided the fall in the first place, but rather because you’ve experienced that cold, unforgiving, deep pain, and you have risen again.  It’s easy to stay strong, feet firmly planted on the ground, when nothing has ever completely swept you off your feet; however it’s another thing entirely when you’ve lived through a trauma, have been forced to navigate your way free, and have searched to find that new solid ground before you can slowly find safety in your own balance and stand once again.  THAT is strength!  That’s why people tell you you’re strong.  That’s why you own your own courage. 

I share these truths.  I share these pictures of what radiation (one of many sufferings endured) did to my body and mind.  I share them not to gain pity or to evoke fear, but rather to remind you of your own truths.  We all have these wounds beneath the layers of pink and smiles.  Sometimes they’re visible and sometimes they’re emotional marks placed upon our hearts.  They are not the cause of our weaknesses.  They are the source of knowing our TRUE strength.

I have said before: I will never eat a raw egg…that’s disgusting; and I will most certainly turn my back to it when offered.  However, I love me some cookie dough, and I will devour it each and every time.  Same thing applies to the scars that I wish never found me.  My wounded body and spirit may resemble the raw egg.  I may wish to turn my back to them and walk away.  That burnt flesh??… I may want to forget, to deny, and to avoid all emotions associated with that memory.  However, it gets folded into the batter…into part of the person that I am becoming. I am not the egg; nor am I the sugary sweet chocolate chips alone.  I am the entire cookie dough; and so are you.

Don’t be ashamed of your scars; don’t toss them unto the pile of rubbled weaknesses.  They are instead the stepping stones to your strength.  They are part of your batter. 

For loved ones of those recently diagnosed, of survivors, or of women living with metasatatic breast cancer: know that there are deep wounds beneath the surface of pink; and your warrior is pretty bad ass even when they fall with grief. 

Women who’ve endured this trauma: don’t deny the egg.  Rather, recognize the sense of strenth it generates, and focus on rising again (even if they’re itty bitty baby steps…they’re steps.) Learn to love the cookie dough and to live your best life possible, even with that nasty raw egg.