Dorothee's Story

What It Means To Be Alright

The other day I was sitting again in THAT office: my surgeon sitting behind his desk, leafing through my pile of paperwork; he closes the pages, and gives me a broad smile:” It appears to be All Good. There is nothing on your mammogram!”

It is now a little over three years ago, that I was sitting in that same office, getting the frightening News that all was obviously not well. 
I had found a lump in my breast, and with my medical knowledge, I had an idea that this may not just be a cyst…

"It was up to me to decide what it means to be alright. It was up to me to decide that a bad day of chemo wasn't all that the day held" - 

I remember the cold panic. I remember my husband taking me home, and opening his most precious bottle of wine for us – it never got drunk. 

I remember my sons’ reactions: one very composed, the other gone to pieces. And I remember speaking to my poor mum on the phone. Mum, who lives in another country; mum, who has gone through the grief of losing my dad not so long ago, through cancer. And I remember her saying: “Sweetheart, you will be all right!” – And that is what I carried with me! My mum says: I will be all right!

I know, my mum obviously didn’t have privileged information there. I know it was more her desperation and her own helplessness, which made her say those words at that time. However, she did and does believe in the amazing research and medical advancements, especially with regards to cancers like breast cancer.

There were three parts, I feel, which helped me through that year of 2012: 
There was the medical team, who I implicitly trusted, and who were so on the ball with regards to my treatment plans.
And then there was the army of friends, old and new, and family, sensitively and sensibly trying to support my fragile soul and broken mind.  But I realised there was also ME!


Yes, ME. Like a phoenix born out of the ashes.  I learned to see I had resilience, I had guts, I had strengths, and I had hope.

And I realised something else: it is up to me to decide what it means to ‘be all right’. It was up to me to decide that a bad day of chemo wasn't all that that day held. There was always love and laughter and Life around, too!

I guess, I am lucky that I am a ‘cup half full’ kind of girl. 
Doesn't mean I don’t recognise that the cup is also half empty. But I don’t feel myself dwelling on the dregs!  I enjoy the sunshine sparkling through its surface, and I believe I am all right.

Dorothee -