Cancer: A Risk, A Surprise, And Certainly An Adventure

RondaWalkerRonda Walker Weaver, LBBC‘s newest blog contributor and soon to be regular contributor, shares her story about her diagnosis and how it made her step outside of her comfort zone and learn to accept the new changes in her life.

I am 54; I teach writing at our local university and I work for an education company in my spare time. I am the proud grandmother of 16 grandchildren! I found a lump in my breast on Thursday Aug. 30, 2012, and by the following Wednesday I had a diagnosis of cancer and surgery the following Wednesday – Stage 1 Grade 3 Invasive Ductile Carcinoma, Triple Negative. Twelve days from finding to removing (nothing in the nodes or surrounding tissue). I was told I’d need 8 biweekly chemotherapy treatments and then 35 radiation treatments. No one in my family has had cancer; cancer has never ever been in my vocabulary.  I knew I could not go on this journey alone, and so I invited friends and family to join me. I figured the prayers and positive thoughts would be enough to bear me up. I learned my life was out of my control, and I had to live moment by moment, not only trusting others, but actually needing others to care for me. No plans – just prayers.

I’m not one to run away – I am not one to live in fear – I will walk away from anger, hurt, betrayal, poison, but I prefer negotiating, talking things through, working things out, coming to some sort of compromise. I believe in education, intuition, and inspiration.

Yet I’m not really a risk-taker, unless a risk is defined as driving down a road without a map, or pushing myself at the gym. I won’t put my physical self in any place that might be risky – I don’t like heights, I’m not a great swimmer, I’m probably not going to sky dive anytime soon. I like intellectual risks though – what a rush it is to learn, to discover, and to know I can learn – bring it on!

I prefer “looking forward to,” over “surprise.” I love adventure, but I want to know a little about what I am embarking on. Over our back door we have the phrase, “Go out for adventure, come home for love.”  I like planning, that’s part of the adventure, part of the journey – it’s like receiving a gift card for Christmas, and then using it, 2 gifts for the price of 1!

And here stands cancer.  A risk, a surprise, and certainly an adventure. However – fear, get thee away. I will learn what I can, listen to my own body, and pray for inspiration – it is already arriving.

What I’m learning:

1. Acknowledge it – Breast Cancer

2. Don’t blame – it’s not heredity, not second hand smoke, not diet. It just is. Why me? Why not me.

3. Listen to myself – I was told “something” was coming my way, here it is.

4. Time – a dear friend of mine taught me, “Give it time, the answer will manifest itself.” Reminds me of the tune, “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Time is of the essence, but all I have is time.

5. Get out of my comfort zone – My comfort zone is this, do, do, do, busy, help, seek, find, do, do, do. Now I will learn to be still – again.

Ronda is 54 years old, she eats right, exercises daily, and there is no history of cancer in her family, yet she was diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. She teaches folklore and writing at Utah Valley University and works for an online education company, LearningU. She loves reading, listening to music, gardening, walking and riding her bike, traveling, and spending time with her grandchildren, children, and her dear husband – who has been her pillar of strength through her journey. She also writes her own blog called Folklady’s Adventures.

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13 Responses to “Cancer: A Risk, A Surprise, And Certainly An Adventure”

  1. Julie Conrad Says:

    Dear Ronda,
    My name is Julie, I’m 53 and my prayers are with you. I too have TNC and your words are what I didn’t know how to say. You have expressed yourself in such an honest and brave way. Staying positive while facing the truth. You wrote about me! You are not alone, although it feels like it at times. I was diagnosed last April, 16, 2012. Stage 2, Grade 3, no node involvement. Lumpectomy in May, chemo in June ending in early October and radiation in November finishing in December 2012. Had my first Mamo and it was normal. I still suffer with joint, muscle pain and fatique. I did accupuncture for about 5-6 weeks. I was sure it was working until I didn’t go for 3 weeks. I have an appointment tomorrow because I feel like all the old aches and pains coming back. Fatique too. I fear the unknown, but trying to live a normal life. It’s always there though. I will read your blog. Thank you for your inspiration! Be well!

    Julie

  2. Ronda Walker Weaver Says:

    Julie, Thank you for your words. Sounds like we’ve been on a very similar journey. My biggest struggle is with fatigue – especially acknowledging it! My best to you – Ronda

  3. Kathy Petrozelli Says:

    Rhonda, you wrote about me too. I was 48 years old when I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, stage 1, but I am unaware of the grade other than to know it was aggressive. My tumor was not palbable. It was found at 0.6 cm big on my very first digital mammogram. I, unlike you, have been diagnosed with the BRCA2 gene. I religiously screened for this, but I never walked around in fear. What I do worry about is all of the ladies out there that are not aware that this could happen to them like it has happened to us. I pray that all women receive their mammograms yearly or at least as their doctor’s prescribe. I know that some lumps can be felt, but believe me I am one lucky girl that I didn’t skip that very simple test that year. Good luck to you Rhonda. You have inspired me for the day because I think I live the same way you do.

  4. Mona Jhaveri Says:

    Hi Ronda, this is a very moving piece. Thank you for sharing. It seems the most frightening aspect about cancer is the treatment itself. As a cancer researcher turned bio-entrepreneur, I remain confident that research will produce better, safer and more effective treatment approaches. As many have said before me, cancer should not be a life disruptor or death sentence. We as a country need to dedicate resources to create the best possible outcomes for those with cancer. After 40 years of waring against cancer, we should do better than surgery/chemo as the forefront treatment for cancer. I suppose that is my journey. Keep your spirits up. You are an inspiring woman for all of us!

  5. Ronda Walker Weaver Says:

    Mona, Thank YOU for being an advocate for cancer treatments. Let’s not treat cancer, rather eliminate! In support – Ronda

  6. Jimmy Lanzetta Says:

    THANK YOU, GIRLS, THAT WAS AWE-INSPIRING and VERY INFORMATIVE. I APPRECIATE THE LESSONS OF CHALLENGE, INTEGRITY and STRENGHT IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY. SINCERELY, JIMMY(For My favorite cousin’s, I Am As they say “LEARNING THE ROPES.”

  7. Mona Jhaveri Says:

    Hi Rhonda, thank you for your kind words. Your comment made me think of this NY Times article that I found a couple of weeks ago. It speaks to how we define progress when we talk about the “war on cancer.” I would love to hear your thoughts on this….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  8. Ronda Walker Weaver Says:

    Thank you for this article. I have never called my journey with breast cancer a battle, I prefer the image of a road trip – with bumps and storms and twists and turns. I do agree that all cancers have been commodified, and I do appreciate LBBC and other groups who are here to provide awareness.
    If you’d like, I do have a post on my personal blog, folkladysadventures.blogspot.com, regarding information similar to that found in this article. It’s in February, under “Commodification.” My best to you – Ronda

  9. Risk | LBBC's Blog Says:

    […] Weaver, a regular LBBC blog contributor, returns with the 2nd part of her four part story. In her original post she explained how she had to take risks, face surprises and embrace the adventure that transpired […]

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