Discovering Faith, True Beauty, and Confidence During and After Cancer

Without questioning, when going through a serious illness, you learn to know what faith truly is, along with finding the true meaning of beauty and how you really feel about yourself. I know this all too well, because I’ve experienced many trials and tribulations in my life. Through it all, I have gained my strength and more confidence in myself. My self-esteem came back with full force, and I loved myself all over again. I had a new beginning, all on my own.

After going through so much in my life, things were looking up…until it happened. I had a head-on collision with not only breast cancer, but colon cancer as well, and it changed my entire outlook on life. I thought I had it rough years before, but going through cancer was the rest of the iceberg. There’s nothing like it. You wonder what in life had you done so wrong to have this placed upon you. “Why me?” you say.

Yet through my tragedies and all that I had to endure, it all became an awakening for me, in which I received all the strength and encouragement I needed to conquer my obstacles. Through it all, not only did I find the true meaning of life, I found what true beauty really is. Through all the chemo, radiation, and the pain I endured, I still felt beautiful. I found myself looking in the mirror even more during this time, because I thought that what I had gone through would change me drastically; but as I saw the imperfections I now have to live with, over time it got better. And instead of feeling sorry for myself, I embrace it all. I’m still among the living—who am I to complain?

Whether we’re dealing with an illness or any other negative feelings about ourselves, our lives, or our bodies, we need to be our own cheering section. Through all my mishaps, I still feel beautiful—and it’s real. feel that I totally interrupted my aging process. I didn’t allow it to stop me from keeping up my beauty regimen or my appearance. Yes, there’s a lot in this world to enhance our beauty, but we also need to feel beautiful and proud of who we are without the enhancements.

I’ve come to realize that even going through such a dark time in my life, I still have a life to be lived, and I’m going to live it to the fullest. When I think about the individuals that are no longer among us due to such a horrific disease, I’m truly grateful, and my life will not be taken for granted. When I think of the gift of life that was given to me twice over, I knew that I would develop and gain strength through all my experiences.

I would never say having or going through cancer was a gift—but surviving it, and receiving a second and third chance on life, is the gift. Yet, through it all, I’m still me. I didn’t allow the disease to take away who I am, or what I stand for. I’m a survivor, as well as an example to show that my small mishaps are just that. I can go on and still look and feel beautiful, inside and out, and it shines brighter. Each passing day I’m allowed to open my eyes, the days are brighter—because I’m able to see and appreciate it that much more.

Still today, I would look at the areas of my body where surgeries were performed, and how different it is now, and it still bothers me a little. I’m human, after all. But within a moment, I can look past it, because those areas can be covered up. True beauty is within, and when you feel beautiful on the inside, it shows so clearly on the outside. I’m told all the time I don’t look my age, and I believe it’s because I try to do all that I can to interrupt it. Just because I had cancer doesn’t mean the cancer had me. We as women should never allow anything, or any circumstance, to steal our joy, or our self-esteem. Through any tragedy, we are and always will be beautiful and unique! Our bodies take a licking, yet keep on ticking.

When I look back now, I realize that I initially believed my cancer diagnosis was truly a death sentence, because I was not sure if I’d make it or not. My entire life, all I ever heard about cancer was about people dying from it. But I found out later that it was truly an awakening for me. I also realized that I was about to face a new beginning, new hope; I was going to do and see more, with a whole new prospective on life.

I share my story with others in the hope that I will make a positive impact on someone who’s ill or otherwise, so they can proceed through life in a whole new way. I’m 62 years old now, looking forward to a better life, one I’m cherishing each day. I’m still at my best—very confident, as well as grateful. I’m starting over, doing things I should have done before my head-on collision with cancer. During one of my many surgeries in my breast cancer period, I experienced something of a miracle that I turned into a poem I call “Peace.” I took that poem, along with many others I had written, and published my book. I’m hoping that anyone who has the opportunity to read my poems gets out of them what I placed into all of them.

I later produced another inspirational children book and am currently working on my third book. I would have never become a writer producing inspirational stories if I hadn’t gone through all that I did. I never anticipated becoming a writer—I just became one. I truly believe that when you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease such as cancer, it’s for a reason. You have a purpose, and through that purpose, faith, compassion, strength, and true beauty are born.

 

Karen Rice

About the Author | Karen Rice

Karen Rice is an inspirational woman who shares her experiences with others through writing, hoping to make a positive impact on someone who's ill or otherwise, so they can proceed through life in a whole new way.

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