That’s my date. The date that would change my life irrevocably. There are other dates in my life that changed things for me, but none more significant than that date, the date that a surgeon sat on a stool across from me in the examining room, pointed at my left breast, and said in a staccato-like voice:
and went on to blather about Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
Dec. 20, 2007. Five days before Christmas. I was just about to send out Shutterfly Christmas pictures of Frank, Nate and I — they would be late, but they would be sent out that Christmas unlike the previous Christmas when nothing was sent due to perpetual busyness. They never got sent. My life got torn apart by a few words said on Dec. 20. Before and After. Before the diagnosis and After the diagnosis. That was even before the worst — the diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer — was yet to come.
I spent the next two days after the diagnosis crying, on and off, and then finally was able to say the words out loud to my family.
The Before. The After.
Many people have A Date, A Date that divides their lives into The Before and The After. What’s your date?
In the book I Will Not Be Broken, author Jerry White, who lost a leg in a land mine accident, states the following:
Can you recall your date? Your own before-and-after moment, when life is cut in two by horrible pain or shocking news?
References to dates burned in our memory — when life is dramatically changed — appear in all kinds of survivor literature, including military battles, conquests, and political assassinations . . . . Most people, when telling stories of a crisis, will date their turning point. One survey found that 85 percent of people feel they have experienced such turning points. (p. 16-17)
Of course it is important what happens to people on those dates — death of a loved one, diagnosis of a serious illness, relinquishment of a baby, a terrible accident, rape, so many things that could go wrong — but just as important is what happens after The Date, how the person goes on to heal from the trauma, to, as Jerry says, not only survive but thrive afterwards.
His book, I Will Not Be Broken, talks about how to survive and thrive after a trauma. He knows firsthand about the subject, having lost a leg and been otherwise damaged in a land mine accident at the age of twenty. I’ll write more about the book in future posts, but for now, share with me Your Date. When is Your Before and After. What happened?
In closing, I’d like to share one last quote from Jerry’s preface which is probably not a surprise to those of us who use the blogging world to reach out to others in the same or similar predicaments of our own:
No one survives alone. We need each other.
December 20, 2007. What’s your date?
Cross posted to Just Enjoy Him.