Tuesday, January 1, 2013

This One's For You, Bridget Spence

Just the other day I was introduced to a truly inspiring blog – http://mybiggirlpants.blogspot.com/.  Bridget Spence was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer at 21 years old with no family history of the disease.  Not only has she fought with all her might for seven years, but she had such an amazing and uplifting spirit during her journey.  Her amazing attitude in her latest blog post was not one of regret or self pity, but thankfulness to everyone who has stood by her side, encouraged her and prayed with her every step of the way.

I’ve decided to start with Bridget’s first blog post and read about her journey.  I’ve found moments while reading Bridget’s blog that I want to just put down my iPhone and stop reading.  It’s too sad.  But I don’t think Bridget intended for her journey to make others sad.  Sometimes bad things to good people, but instead of wallowing in self pity make the best of every moment.  Treasure every moment with those you love.  You don’t get many choices when diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer that has metastasized, but you do have the choice to either fight with all you have and know that you did everything in your power and made the most out of the precious time you were given on this earth, or you can curl up in a ball and hide from this demon we call cancer.  Bridget chose to fight, and with that she has touched the lives of more people than she will ever know.

Bridget wasn’t given an option to become a previvor.  I can’t help but feel so selfish when I am whining about my BRCA mutation and upcoming surgery.  What do I have to whine and complain about?  I have an amazing husband, a beautiful child and a wonderful life.  My BRCA mutation is a blessing.  Since learning of my mutated genes (I really hate that term – it makes me feel like an alien – I need a better word) I’ve had a newfound appreciation for life.  I try not to take things for granted.  I try not to judge other people because you never know what their journey may be.  I’m just thankful for all that God has blessed me with.  I have the opportunity to take control of my destiny.

Things can get overwhelming when you are making decisions that can and will affect the rest of your life.  It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and wonder ‘why me?’.  It’s OK to let those feelings wash over you.  To quote my all time favorite television show LOST,

The terror was just so crazy.  So real.  And I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice.  I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing – but only for five seconds; that’s all I was going to give it.  So I started to count:  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five.  Then it was gone.  I went back to work, sewed her up, and she was fine.”

For those of you who aren’t Lost fanatics, this was the first episode when Kate had to sew up Jack’s wound.

So the next time I get caught up in the fear and anxiety of what awaits me, I will let the fear wash over me for five seconds.  Then I will put on my big girl pants, squash those fears and move on.

Bridget Spence asked for a favor in 2010…

“I hope all of you can take tonight and look around at your husbands, wives, children, parents, friends. Hold on a little longer than is usual. Pull someone a bit closer. Thank God for a peaceful evening; not everyone is blessed with one tonight.”

I will do that tonight, Bridget, and every night.

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