Strength is a powerful word. Physical strength is very obvious to the human eye. Internal strength is something different and more difficult to define. Not only is it difficult to define, but it is hard to determine where one finds their internal strength. It varies from person to person. When I received my diagnosis last July, I did not feel strong, I felt like a weak and helpless child in the face of this disease. An anonymous quote said, “When on the edge of destiny, you must test your strength”. Breast cancer put me on the edge of a new destiny – to survive at all costs.
To ensure my survival I had to find new sources of strength. Since dying was NOT an option, I decided I would need an extraordinary amount of strength to fight the pink ribbon demon. Thank God I did not have to fight alone. I have the most amazing family and friends who helped me every step of the way. When my strength failed, I could rely on them to push me forward. That’s right – I am a thief – a strength stealer. When I couldn’t put another foot forward, I would look into the eyes of someone I know with great strength and steal some of theirs to help me through. These strong people in my life; my husband, sons, mother, sister, aunts, cousins and other family and friends shared their strength with me and gave me the drive to get up each and every day and fight this disease.
I don’t regret stealing from these wonderful people. Strength in the face of adversity is one of the true gifts of life. There were days when I was so sick and in pain that I didn’t know if I could get out of bed. I would lie in bed and imagine the eyes of one of these people, and like a thief in the night, I would rob some of their strength so that I could use it to get through another day. The great thing about stealing this is that I could then pass it onto others in the same situation as I was. Now that my strength is back to normal, I can’t wait until someone looks me in the eye and steals my strength. I have a lot to give. I had many pillars of strength during my journey and now I can be a pillar for others with this disease.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Spiritual force is stronger than material force; thoughts rule the world”. Strength is a spiritual force and each and every one of us possess it. When the physical strength gives out, one must then rely on mental strength and positive thoughts. The key to mental survival is the key to physical survival. I made up my mind that I would win and I will. Every woman with breast cancer will have good and bad days. On those good days, let others steal your strength and on the bad days steal from others. Use your strength, your friends, family and even your children. Wherever you can find strength, use it.
We are all strong and we can be pillars of strength together for one another and show others what it means to Fight Like A Girl!
How would you describe your strength? What gives you strength or reminds you of how strong you really are?
Originally published on 10/15/2011
Updated by Fight Like A Girl on 02/02/2021
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.