IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
By ALEX M. EDUQUE
Last Saturday, I accompanied my mom (who, as a breast cancer survivor was asked to be one of the panelists) in the Silver Linings Cancer Forum 2019 hosted by I Can Serve Foundation. I wrote about this forum a few weeks back. It is the first one I have attended, and I do not think words could ever justifiably describe the empowerment and inspiration I felt as simply an audience member on that day. I walked out of there with so much more than I ever thought I would – validation of my assumptions and feelings in the past, but most importantly, with hope. Hope that so many more are being educated and encouraged that (breast) cancer, especially when detected early, is not a death sentence.
Fear is inevitable, but a big cause of that fear is the lack of knowledge, or in some cases, miseducation. Forums like Silver Linings do not only get some of the best medical experts to explain facts and debunk certain myths that surround the disease and encourage lifestyle choices, they make cure tangible by sharing success stories and testimonies from the survivors themselves which I feel is most important. Essentially, they create a community where everyone has something in common. And just that sheer notion is enough to give you that boost of confidence that you are not alone.
Moreover, that there is always someone going though something worse than you. The story of a survivor, for instance, who found out that her husband was cheating on her as she was going through the treatment, I can only assume, left others either going through the cancer journey at present, or who have survived it thankful for their faithful partners and strong familial support. Another survivor (who is still surviving) with metastasis to the bones has been a stage-four cancer patient for 12 years now – proof that at the end of the day, there is always a greater power up there who decides your time on earth, your purpose, and how long you have to fulfill your mission in life.
Cancer will strengthen faith – of survivors, as well as their families – in the same way that it will test it. A prominent celebrity himself who is a cancer survivor, but lost his son to the disease admitted that though he and his wife are extremely prayerful, after the death of his son, he was mad at and questioned God for a time. Indeed, while prayer is a most powerful weapon, trials in life as such come to show that God will answer that which he wants, and His will always triumphs and prevails. It is about keeping that steadfast faith, and returning to it despite, and after mourning that will help you seek the silver lining, and see the sunshine again.
As I sat in the audience that day, I realized that one of the biggest silver linings in having a front-row seat in all my mom went through, was seeing how truly blessed she was despite having to go through that hurdle. Beyond having the financial means to pay for her treatment, having a family and strong support system, in addition to being given the opportunity to help, and another outlet to give back from. She is my everyday reminder of strength and resilience a woman is capable of enduring; of compassion, and always choosing to see a cup half full, rather than half empty. In how she lives her life, she shows me more than silver linings. She is my greatest blessing.