Tripping Over Myself

By Molly MacDonald

Well, I don’t know if it in impending aging or just the fact that my feet were dancing among the falling leaves of a  sunny MIchigan autumn day.

But yesterday, while walking, well really a move more like sidestepping, better done on the floating wood floor of an aerobics studio, I tripped over myself.  The whole event was filmed before my eyes in slow motion as I began to move to brace my fall, as I realized simultaneously I was about to wipe out on both knees and my right palm, while protecting my five pound poodle from my 140 pound frame.

I was stunned and angry, taken by surprise, no different the day I learned I heard the words we Survivors all remember, beginning with, “I’m sorry, you have breast cancer.”

In real pain, I tried to get up, but I couldn’t and then I just started to cry, as I pulled up my pant legs to examine my wounds.  It took awhile for me to get up to regain my footing; erect again I decided to ditch my walk.   Walking home alot of negativity spilled from my lips.  Talking outloud to no one in particular, certainly not my poodle, I began grousing about what a loser I am, how difficult my life has been and how maybe I should just give up . . . .

For many of us, the diagnosis of breast cancer, or any health issue that has potential for a fatal outcome, leaves us feeling tripped up by life.  Hey, we were doing everything right.  Right? Or maybe not, but we were doing the best we could and then this . . . . this fall of sorts, this diagnosis that requires us to examine our wounds, pick ourselves up and keep on going.

Sometimes our diagnosis sets in place an entire chain of events over which we have no control.  Side effects make it difficult to work, any savings we have are quickly used up, the medical bills with mounting co-pays (and this is if we are lucky to have insurance) fill our mailboxes.  It is all too much.

Tripping, even through  no fault of our own, can make getting up look grim.

When breast cancer tripped me up, what allowed me to examine my wounds, pick myself up and walk home, was a different kind of self-talk, to many in particular.  A talk that said, “Hey, I can do something about this situation. I can’t change the cancer, but I can change some of the circumstances for others and in the process change myself.

For me, it was The Pink Fund.  Giving a hand to others who needed help getting up.  Listening as they told me about their wounds and even if funds were not available, helping them to take the next step toward healing.

When breast cancer caused you to fall, what did you do to pick yourself up?   Who lent a hand so you could regain your footing?

I’d love to hear from you, because in this life we all find ourselves tripping and we need help getting up.

It’s the getting up and the giving back that make the tripping all worthwhile.

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