Reflect, Refocus and Renew

PURPOSE. It’s something that we are all pursuing. To walk in the true meaning of our existence. Allow me to take you on a journey about how my purpose was confirmed through my cancer diagnosis. I’d been battling acid reflux for a few years and after a rather violent episode, I went to a gastroenterologist who ordered a battery of tests to find the cause. My follow up visit revealed Follicular Lymphoma. That was June, 27, 2014. My first thoughts went my father who battled and beat Lymphoma but then passed of Leukemia in 2009; naturally, I thought I too was going to die too. Sensing my anxiety, he referred me to an oncologist that I was able to see immediately.

After leaving the doctor’s office, I made the call I hope I never to have to make again. I had to call my husband. I tried to hold it together but the words burst out. He immediately became emotional and hung up. Forty minutes later he was by my side at the oncologist’s office. Everything the doctor said to us was a blur until he quoted a scripture. It was in 2nd Peter, and although we may not have understood anything else, we understood that. That for me was a silver lining, telling me that I was sent to him for a reason. There were more; like the friend I saw in the lobby after receiving my diagnosis. She prayed a prayer that I needed to hear in the absence of my husband or my mother. Or the message the Pastor delivered the following Sunday to not allow your faith to waiver no matter what. Or the prayer prayed by one of our associate minister’s stating that someone may be going through something that no one else knows about. Even in the midst of the worse news I ever received, God was telling me that I was not alone.

Although I consider myself to be very outgoing, I chose not to share my story at large but rather only my family, and a small group of close friends and co-workers. In fact, we didn’t even choose to share it with my kids throughout the entire time I was going through treatment as the method we chose didn’t result in any major physical changes. After several iterations of therapy, I was declared cancer free on April 8th, 2015.

This is where my story truly begins. Prior to my diagnosis, I had been working on a project focused on women. You know…that busy wife, mother, corporate professional, entrepreneur, Sunday School teacher, “all of the above” woman. In recognizing that, like me, women prioritize our jobs, families, and activities ahead of our own well being I launched Project She.

Who is she? She is me, but she is also YOU. The major initiative is The SheTreat, a retreat where she can step away from the everyday grind to enjoy an uplifting, encouraging and positive experience to REFLECT, REFOCUS and RENEW herself towards becoming a better woman, first for herself, and then family and community. I fully realized the vision of SheTreat on July 30th, where 60 exquisite, dynamic, graceful women came together in fellowship and celebration of edifying our WHOLE selves – mind, body, soul and spirit.

My son and daughter, Clarke and Avery are now in the know about mommy’s cancer. How did they take the news? It was World Cancer Survivor Day last year June 7th. Sitting at breakfast, I asked them if they knew what a survivor was. They both nodded and I proceeded to tell them that mommy cancer survivor. They both paused, but I told them that I was taking medication and that I was fully healed. Clarke asked “so God healed you mommy?” and I said yes. Her next words were “pass the bacon”. You see, as long as she knew I was okay, she was okay. If we can think of things the way my Clarke did, we’d be so less stressed, wouldn’t we?

I share my story because I know I can’t keep God’s goodness to myself. This past March, the first large-scale opportunity to do so was speaking at Treasure Her Elegance Grand Tea, which raises money for transportation for cancer patients. My husband and children were there in support and as I looked at them, I realized they were my sunshine. Today, I make it a point to say to them every day what I first said to them on that day, “You are my sunshine…”

You see, for me, it’s all about the Sunshine and Silver Linings. That is what I choose to see.