C Is For Cancer And Other (Wonderful) Things

I woke up this morning, thinking about the date today. It is exactly one year from the conversation I had with my mother at the Santa Maria de Vallvanera shrine in Platja D’Aro, Mas Nou. I wrote “Go Tell It On The Mountain…” based on a lump I discovered on my sternum, then followed an adventure of faith and reckoning. This is my story today…

I am making my To-Do lists for the Fall season. Instead of the conventional 1,2,3’s my lists usually start with a ‘First, then goes a ‘Number 2′, then I go down the list with letters of the alphabet just to mix things up, usually beginning with the letter ‘C‘. Well, this time it got me thinking as I am fast approaching my 1st year anniversary (3 weeks away!) since my initial Breast Cancer diagnosis…

What do I have to show for my year with Cancer besides surviving it?

What???!!!!!! you ask. Maybe it’s the professional volunteer in me asking… NO gnawing at my bones – to have something to show for my time out of the ring! But, what an odd question when you think about it.

I was brought up in Texas, where nothing can be that bad to keep you down – not even DEATH itself! Ba-dum-bump! I was brought up to be mindful and  think of others before myself. I was brought up to never give up hope, always have faith in the greater good. As long as I believed in a higher being, i.e. The Big Guy In The Sky, I would always persevere.

I was inspired yesterday as I thumbed through this little Chemotherapy pamphlet I collected whilst at The Texas Oncology Clinic in July. (I was having little fainting spells and needed to be checked out. Turns out it was only from the the heat, imagine that! Daily records of 105F! Go figure, drink more water, and move on)

Robin Roberts Early Detection Advocate for Breast Cancer

Anyhow, I was reading thoughts from how certain celebrities had been touched by Cancer. One in particular is Robin Roberts, the Co-Host of Good Morning America. I remember when she was diagnosed in 2007. She said “My mom said that by sharing my story (about life with Cancer), I would save other women from the pain and suffering I was going through. She told me to turn my ‘mess’ into my ‘message’, and that’s what I did.” Well her tireless MESSAGE has been heard around the world now (since diagnosis in 2007). She’s a major Advocate in early detection, especially amongst impoverished women and women of colour!

I asked myself again…. What do I have to show for it besides surviving? And do I have a message? We live in an electronic world now where words can be sent via the internet in seconds, where stories can be read by millions all at the same time! Any one any where can read what you have to say! I chose to write my message about how to stay positive whilst living with cancer, how to be productive and assist others suffering.

Cancer is not cool, we all know that! We who live it must get up and start screaming to make a difference, getting the word out and supporting one another! We should also get busy changing the perspective of others suffering terribly from this disease, those who are trapped in anger, frustration, and fear.

So what is my message? What have I achieved in my year with Cancer?

First, I can proudly say I am a Blogger and a decent one at that! Well….so says my family (I still think they are all biassed!). Although rocky at first, I have come out of my shell and faced my insecurities head on! I realized I am funny, creative, and never knew my talents in Googling Research!

I have helped many women on-line, facing Breast Cancer or those touched by it, that I normally would never have met through conventional means. I have to thank my girl friends Paige J. and Debbie W. entirely for that! They are both 5 years surviving and living strong. Without their words of encouragement and helping me face my own fear of Cancer, I wouldn’t have even opened my mouth let alone my computer!

And to boot, I have passed a large marker in the blogging statistics world – I have nearly 26,000 Direct Views – but almost 40,000 syndicated views worldwide and who knows what’s happening through Facebook! All in less than a year. That may be small potatoes to a large retailer like Amazon.com or a famous celebrity like Kim Kardashian, but apparently, that’s not too shabby for a New-be-Blogger! Woohooooooooeeey!

Number 2, I started a charity called The Pink Pom-Pom Project (PPPP/charity registration pending) which originally focused on making hats and scarves for Breast Cancer victims around London. We have evolved into a crafting for cancer therapy group and growing fast! Besides offering free patterns and crafting projects on-line, the PPPP has achieved quite a bit in its short beginnings! In only 7 months, along with the Kensington Chelsea Women’s Club (KCWC), we have made and donated over 200 hats to The Haven in Fulham, a Breast Cancer Support Centre and The Macmillan Support Centre on Harley Street.

Another project within the PPPP is called Commission Possible has finished 2 out of 3 of its projects and will be featured shortly as fundraisers in honour of Breast Cancer Awarenss Month in October, so watch this space for all events (go to EVENTS at www.thepompomproject.com to see calendar NOW)!

The PPPP will also host a Stitch & Bitch in October at Whole Foods London/Room With A View/1st Floor – all are welcome hint hint. Wholefoods has kindly given us the room for FREE for the morning – So WE NEED YOU! We are looking for needlecrafters of all kinds whilst enjoying some coffee and nibbles in a good bitching session!

And then there’s C…Well, C is for Cancer – unfortunatelyBut it also stands for Conquering. According to the Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary, it means to gain mastery over or win by overcoming obstacles. C is for for Courage. C is for Caring. C is for Comfort. C is for Cancel which technically means to destroy the force, effectiveness, or validity of (annul); to bring to nothingness (destroy); to mark or strike out for deletion (omit and delete). Now, cancel, we as women, all understand that one! And C is for Chemotherapy – Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord! That stuff is so scary, even Cancer runs away from it!

I am a firm believer in fate, regardless of the circumstances – life is all about rolling with the punches. If I hadn’t been whacked with cancer in October last year, I would never have been led down this path. Think about that – and now, I can’t even imagine that today!

I think I can officially write for the time being, I have calmed my fears of this horrible disease and approached it with dignity, intelligence, strength, humour and appreciation of its enormity. I have been a good sport in many ways and tried to focus on the positives rather than the reality and negativity of what this disease is really capable of. It has every possibility of destroying any one person or a community if you allow it.

Through my fears, hair loss, sicknesses, multiple hospital stays, and other crazy hiccups, I have managed to survive and keep my little precious family safe and laughing during the hardest times. I hope I have helped in offering some light of hope and faith for you, the readers, with fun stories of daily life with cancer.

I am certain and have no doubt that without my cancer diagnosis, I would never have gone down this path, or ever shown this much Commitment to my Community or to other sufferers and my new found Charity in Crafting for Cancer!

And now, I have saved the best ‘C’ for last: C stands for Cure.

Ladies and gentlemen my message is clear. Let’s work together and find one!

About Alexandra Wallace Currie

A breast cancer survivor since October 2010 with loads to talk about and share! Founder of The Pink Pom-Pom Project - a crafting for cancer therapy initiative helping other victims, friends and family through treatment and diagnosis. Now based in Fairfield, CT, USA, The PPPP hosts monthly Stitch&Bitch events and Open Crafting classes to local community organisations. We hope to teach everyone that working with your hands is easy and anything is possible!
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