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"Live every day and have faith in yourself"
Originally published by Julie Tkachuk with Inner Truth Communications

Her name is Beatrice. The cancer she was diagnosed with was very aggressive. She chose a new chemotherapy drug. Feeling horribly sick after each treatment, she often commented that if the cancer didn't kill her, the drug might.

When a cure for cancer is found, she states, "we will look back on this part of history and recognize that the slash, burn and poison treatments we used were barbaric".

For all she has gone through, the woman exemplifies the ability to overcome unfavorable odds by staying positive and focused on health despite. all physical evidence to the contrary. Regardless of extreme discomfort and pain, compounded by the agony of waiting for treatments and test results, Beatrice made the choice to not "accept anything less than it (the cancer) being gone."

I asked her why she thought she survived. Her response was that along with a positive attitude, she was armed with four things: faith in God, faith in her doctors, faith in the drug she helped choose, and faith in herself and her ability to beat the cancer.

Beatrice made a point of going out every day even though, in her opinion, it is one of the hardest things for cancer patients to do. Walks at 5 a.m. to regain her strength and dignity were part of her regular routine. A kerchief could cover the lack of hair on her head, but she had no eyelashes or eyebrows. People would stare. Some previously close friends withdrew from her. While out walking one day, her best friend crossed the street to avoid her. Beatrice commented, "With all there is to contend with, others' fears are something we don't need."

The Light of Christ

A large majority of cancer patients lose their spouses during the treatment process. Beatrice and her husband, however, became closer. He said she was his hero. He said he looked at her and saw her, not at her worst, but at her very best. He saw her fighting to live.

When she felt overwhelmed and wanted to give up, she would go into her bedroom, post a sign saying "My Rejuvenating Room" and close the door. No one was to disturb her. She would cry, write and talk to herself, lifting her spirits and doing the inner work required to keep going.

While not a person who thrives on support groups, Beatrice feels the nurses at the Cross Cancer Institute were incredibly supportive, often going beyond the call of duty. She says, "Others see the Institute as a depressing place. To me, it's a place of healing and compassion."

After her initial diagnosis Beatrice went through many emotions. At one point she asked, "Why me? Why would such a terrible thing happen to me?" Later she thought, "Why not me?"

Although she had always been strong, she admitted "Even the strong are brought down. I cried for three days then realized I needed to put the thing in front of me, look at it and solve it."

Was it the chemotherapy that healed her? Was it her faith and determination? Was it the unconditional love and support she received? She says, "Who knows, it's gone."

St. Francis
What she does know is that cancer was part of her journey. She recognizes the nurses and doctors, family and friends who encouraged and supported her as angels. In her words, "they lifted me up when my own wings couldn't fly."

She's flying now.

"Yes, I suffered a lot. Yes it was horrible," she admits. "But cancer taught me to throw out so much junk in my life. You sure know where your values lie after it all. I feel I am a much more compassionate and kind person. Cancer has changed my whole view of life. Material things are nothing. Life is very precious."

One of the precious things she spoke about reflects her wonderful sense of humor. She said that when her hair grew back, one of her greatest joys came when she needed to shave her legs. She happily spent an hour in the bathroom, shaving and shaving.

One of Beatrice's philosophies is that everything in life happens for a reason. Her experience with cancer has created within her a "duty and an obligation to lighten the load of others." With a true understanding of what they are going through, she wants to help as many cancer patients as possible in whatever way she can.

Beatrice now lives by the words of one of her doctors: "Live every day." Wise words for us all.

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