Monday, August 26, 2013


Resilience (noun) [ri-zil-yuhns, -zil-ee-uhns]
1) the power or ability to return to the original form, position,etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. 
2) ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

This is my favorite word to describe my cancer journey.

The ability to return to original form: as in growing hair back; getting eyelashes; getting over fatigue.
This is actually from June 2011 (wrong date on the camera)

August 2013 - after my first 10 mile CRIM race

The ability to recover readily from illness...: no more nausea, no more skin peeling, no more rashes, no more mood swings, no more crazy hormones.

July 2011

July 2013 - My amazing friend, Rita and me, on our 40 mile bike ride

There were days that I didn't think I would ever recover. I didn't think that I would ever feel or look "normal" again.   And it may have taken two years, but I fully feel like "Erin" again.  It's amazing.  It's the resilience to overcome.

When I think about the body's ability to bounce back from things like broken bones and broken hearts, sore limbs and sore heads, muscle pain and the pain of fatigue, I am truly amazed.  Our innate nature is to fight.  We want to survive.  But the difference between merely surviving and thriving is the drive of your resiliency during the process.  It's soaking up the encouragement from others and really feeling the capability to overcome hard things.

It has taken two years, plus, to "normalize" again.  I am off all medications, except for Tamoxifen.  That was a big goal for me; no more anti-anxiety pills, anti-depressant pills, sleeping pills, beta blockers, painkillers, etc.  At one point, my bathroom was overtaken by pill bottles.  The guy at the Walgreens pharmacy not only knew my name, but pretty much looked at me like I was a train wreck every time I went to pick up a prescription. It's hard to be dependent on so many medications just to function on a daily basis.  I was also extremely embarrassed to need these medications to cope - BUT THAT IS SO STUPID.  I'm pretty sure that no one is giving out awards for "coping" the best during their aggressive cancer diagnosis while raising a newborn.  I am trying very hard to admit that I needed help to regulate my emotions, but I still feel a sense of shame when telling others about it. 

But if I'm living my favorite words, is part of my "resiliency" the fact that I realized I was drowning and reached out for help? (That's what I try to tell myself anyway).  It took several months to admit that crying all day, everyday was not going to be a way to function on a long-term basis, but I swore Brian to secrecy about the medications they prescribed to me.  I didn't want to be weak.  I wanted to be STRONG.  And RESILIENT.

But my strong and my resilience looks different from others.  We don't have to follow the same protocol to treat sadness and overcome obstacles.  Every journey is different and every passenger will handle obstacles the best they can. But I have overcome the challenges in my journey.  And it worked for the time, to help me move through a dark phase in my life.  Looking back, I realize that my cancer journey it is just that; a dark PHASE.

Resilience: : 
1) the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2)  an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change


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