Acceptance – Coming Full Circle with Motherhood and Cancer
Thank you for watching, sharing, tweeting, and emailing your friends with a link to our brand new Why #Delhi2013? video by Moonrider Productions. You have already spread the word to well over 200 people. Will you help us keep the momentum going so we can reach thousands of survivors around the world? We want to not only find the right 12 people to join us in New Delhi, but we also want to start a global conversation about how survivors are starting fresh chapters in their lives.
Speaking of fresh chapters, today’s guest blogger, Kara Gorski, tells us how she found hers. I think the honesty with which she tells her story might inspire you as much as it has inspired me.
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When I was five years old, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She likely had been living with the disease for at least a year, but the doctors just kept telling her to “watch” her lumps, certain she was too young for any disease other than fiber cystic. I spent much of the next two years with my grandparents while my mother lost her breast, her hair and became violently ill from chemotherapy.
I don’t remember a lot from that time period, but I distinctly recall one Sunday afternoon when she had been admitted to our local hospital … again. My uncle took all the kids (me, my older sister and my cousins who lived near us) to the arcade to play video games. We returned to the hospital and took the elevator up to her floor. As the elevator doors opened, my grandmother emerged. “We will always be here for you,” she said sweeping me into her embrace. No one said, “your mother has died,” and it took me quite some time to figure out what had actually happened in the midst of what seemed like uncontrollable confusion swirling around me. I was seven.
My mother died on a Sunday. The next day, I went to school…and not just any school, the school where my mother had taught. I held it together and made it through that day in 2nd grade among the whispers and the “I’m Sorrys.”
That was the beginning of me burying my feelings – the anger, the fear, the loss, the sorrow. I just buried them deep within me, put a smile on my face and worked my way through life for the next 28 years. A coping mechanism, to say the least.
Then, two years ago, I discovered my own breast cancer a few days after turning 35. And while the surgeries, the chemotherapy, the doctors were a bit of a tough road, nothing was tougher than having to come face to face with all those feelings I had buried as a child.
I had two small children of my own, when I was diagnosed – an 18 month old and a three year old. It was like reliving my childhood all over again, except this time I was the mother whose life would undoubtedly be shorter than she had planned. I was faced with the possibility that my own children might be subject to the same loss I had experienced as a child because of me. I am the mother who prays every day for God to let her be with her children as long as they need her. The mother who wonders if she will get to see her kids off to their first day of Kindergarten, be witness to their proms and weddings, or meet her grandchildren.
As I worked my way through treatment, I was forced to face all those buried feelings. I had to actually feel them and to know, admit and ACCEPT that life is uncertain and cannot be guaranteed. For ultimately, that is everyone’s reality.
As I began to accept and forgive, I found a whole new peace within me – a calmness I had never experienced before. I found that it takes a lot more energy to reject, bury or push away negative emotions than it does to simply accept them. Now, I don’t fill my days with work in order to forget and distract my emotions. Instead, I am able to live each day grateful and accepting of whatever that day brings – the good and the bad. I’m not always great at it, and admittedly sometimes I fail miserably. But, then again, true acceptance is not beating yourself up for those failures, but rather just to recognize them and try again.
This morning, I walked my oldest son to his first day of Kindergarten.
Acceptance has given me a way to heal old wounds and live within this scary world of uncertainty with peace. That’s my fresh chapter.
Kara Gorski, Ph.D. is an economist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of braGGsTM LLC, which offers patent-pending bras designed for women who have undergone mastectomy with reconstruction. Kara is a Stage 1, triple negative breast cancer survivor and a carrier of the BRCA1 gene. She is active in the breast cancer community, fundraising for breast cancer research and local outreach.
Through September, braGGsTM is offering discounted bra pre-orders and other rewards to fund its first round of manufacturing via MedStartr, an innovative healthcare crowdfunding platform. Website: www.braGGsonline.com
If Kara’s story inspires you and and you want to help her with her Big Hairy Audacious Dream – Check this out: MedStartr Project: http://www.medstartr.com/