A Credo to Myself

Monday, August 25, 2014

In April 2012 I turned 50. I expected the trifocals (yes, TRI focals!) for my aging eyes, but not the lump I found in my breast just weeks after my big party. If I thought 50 was a big number, I didn't know what was to come: 4 surgeries, 6 chemo treatments, 30 radiation treatments, 18 intravenous targeted biological treatments, countless tests, exams, and needles for blood work.

After the news of a very aggressive cancer (11 of 17 lymph nodes were also cancerous), I wrote a Credo to Myself. I really just wanted to make sure I journeyed through cancer, to whatever end, with grace. It was important to me to actually write down what I wanted to remember when times got tough. It was a way of staying optimistic.

Credo to Myself

  • Glen, Campbell and Analee (my husband and children) are in this as much as I am. I will not leave them out by thinking that I am going through this alone.
  • I will manage my irritability and grumpiness when I am sick so my kids don’t have to live with a mother from hell.
  • There will be a lot of waiting – for results, for appointments, for next steps. While patience has never been one of my strengths, I will cope with waiting well.
  • I will not act as if I am going to die (particularly when it comes to money!).
  • My body is resilient. I will feed my body with healthy foods and physical activity.
  • My spirituality is a source of support for me and I continue to be filled with gratitude for the many wonderful things in my life.
  • I will receive from others happily.

I opened the journal page to my Credo on many rough days – it served as a reminder of a promise I had made to myself. It was actually inspiring at times – did I really say I would be patient?!

I can’t say I was always successful in upholding my Credo. There were some days I think my husband and kids would argue I was pretty grumpy. There were times I was so overwhelmed with the generosity and support of family, friends and coworkers that I struggled to receive happily.

I will say that my Credo helped me to remember that I believed from the start that I could, and would, get through all the treatments.

My wish for anyone facing a new diagnosis of cancer is that you find the core in you that rises above the fear, the core that believes you will come through this. And capture it in words, images, doodles, music or even a Credo! It will be a source of strength for you as you take on the biggest challenge of your life.

Watch Barb’s video and learn what her hopes are for others who are living with cancer.
During the month of August, the South West Regional Cancer Program will introduce you to four brave individuals who were diagnosed with cancer. Through words and video, they will share their personal stories of strength, struggle and survival with you. Stay tuned to southwestcancer.ca each week for a new survivor story, or follow us on twitter @sw_cancer.Meet our other survivors: