What Courage Means To Me

image (2) Regular LBBC guest blogger and LBBC Breast Cancer Helpline volunteer Ronda Walker Weaver is back and this time she’s defining what the word courage means to her. Not only in her breast cancer journey but in her life in general. What does courage mean to you? Leave a comment and let us know!

A couple of weeks ago at church the speaker gave the congregation a challenge – “Do something courageous.” He then shared the story of his grandmother who bravely sought out “truth.” I thought of the saying, “Courage begins at the end of your comfort zone,” and I wondered what I could do that would take courage.

I thought about dying my hair pink. I thought about getting a tattoo. I thought of jumping off the high-dive board. I thought of driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought about eating escargot. I thought of shaving my head. And really, these don’t take courage for me, just a little bit of dare.

So I thought about the things that I’ve done that are courageous. And I found a common tie to all of them. This is my definition of courage:

Courage is having the second child. Courage is having the second chemotherapy treatment. Courage is getting married for the second time. Courage is shaving my head before my hair falls out. Courage is quitting my job to do cancer full-time. Courage is asking my husband to sit by me while I throw-up, for the third time that day. Courage is crying for my mother to hold me in her arms while I weep in exhaustion. Courage is asking my neighbor to help me change the sheets on my bed. Courage is going to the gym bald, puffy, weak, gray, exhausted. Courage is smiling. Courage is getting back on my bike. Courage is climbing to the top of the mountain, the second time. Courage is job-hunting. Courage is saying “no” to the job I need but don’t want. Courage is having a mammogram after finishing treatment. Courage is going shopping with down-soft gray stubble covering my head. Courage is returning to the classroom with chemo-brain. Courage is becoming friends with women who have cancer. Courage is listening to other women’s stories. Courage is sharing my story.

Courage comes with the “doing again” what was hard the first time.

As I have pondered the speaker’s request, I have come to a great realization. I’m a survivor, I’m stronger, I’m a hero, I’m a warrior, but more than anything, I’m a courageous woman – I got back on that bike after I fell and blew out my elbow, I had my second chemo after the first made me so deathly ill, I share my story – in all of its utter-truthfulness. I am courage. This, this is the face of courage. And I am proud to wear the scars that tell my story.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move beyond that fear.

Ronda is 55 years old. She was diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. She went through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. She teaches folklore and writing at Utah Valley University and works for an online education company, LearningU. She is using her recovery time to read, listen to music, garden, walk, play with her grandchildren, children, and enjoy her dear husband – who has been her pillar of strength through her journey. She also writes her own blog called Folklady’s Adventures.

Did you enjoy Ronda’s blog? Here are a few links to her previous posts that you might enjoy as well! 

Living In The Moment: The Best Lesson Cancer Has Taught Me

Let’s Be Frank…

Stop Just Existing…Remember to Live! 

A Letter To Myself

6 thoughts on “What Courage Means To Me

  1. In 2012 I found I had Her2 breast cancer.i knew my journey would be hard but like you, after my first chemo treatment following bilateral breast mastectomy, when I got strept throat I wanted to quit. My twin daughters truly disliked the mom I was through cancer and began to hate me for my needs. My youngest, who has Down Syndrome just seemed confused by my loss of hair and 4 surgeries. When I survived after a year I had lost my job with a doctors group, lost my twin daughters and my grandchildren but had gained a new job, incredible family and friend support and hopefully my health back. My son hugs and loves me constantly. I told someone that we are not always just survivors but surviving still . I had a wonderful counselor that helped me thru so many losses. My husband stood by me and supported me throughout. I still struggle with the loss of my children and grandchildren but each day I get up and appreciate that I have survived and will continue with my Faith to hold me strong. Soon I will walk in the cure by design in honor of the doctor who found my difficult cancer and died recently in chemo. Life can be tough, living can be tough but surviving gives me strength in recognizing we each have a purpose beyond the pain. Thanks for your courage and sharing. Life can be beautiful if we look beyond the past and see the opportunities surviving has given us. God bless

  2. Teri – big hugs to you. It takes courage to be vulnerable, loveable, and move ahead in the face of trials – physical and emotional. I am so glad you are walking to honor someohe who cared for you. Thank you for sharing – Ronda

  3. Courage…. I am trying to figure that out. Do I have courage? I am scheduled to have my 2nd Chemo Treatment day after tomorrow. I don’t know if I am courageous as I certainly don’t want to go, fear again that I could have a severe reaction (as I was told it could happen on either the 1st or 2nd Dose), just had my head shaved and feel soooo self conscious out in public, fear all of the side effects of Chemo again and maybe to a greater degree – and believe me, I had almost ALL of the side effects. But, I did get through each and every one of them. Most of the time with the aid of wonderful medicines that they have developed to ward these off but I did get through them. I have now gone out in public twice – I notice those looking at me and I can tell those that look and are sympathetic or those who look and are thinking “what is she wearing and why?” So, maybe I do have courage as I venture into the unknown of my 2nd Dose and I certainly don’t want to go. I can’t bring myself to see beyond these (6) Treatments, as Radiation and further infusion for an additional 8 months lie ahead. All together it is overwelming – too overwelming. Compartmentalizing helps me take and see things in smaller pieces. Courage, I hope will come to me in bigger doses as I forge ahead on this journey I don’t want to take.

  4. Oh Carrie – you have quite the journey ahead of you, and I believe putting one foot in front of the other, one day, one moment, at a time takes courage. My very best to you – Ronda

    • Carrie,the week after my first chemo I got strept throat from my son. I battled with myself over and over whether to go to the next treatment.i wanted to quit. I knew it would be ok with everyone but myself. It was hard and I remember each time pushing myself a little harder but in the end I was proud to call myself a survivor because you really do deserve it! It is truly surviving and why we honor ladies like you and yes myself. May your road find you gaining courage that is in you! God bless!

      • Terri: thank u for your kind and very heartfelt words. God bless u too and congratulations on being a survivor! U did it all and that is so much to be proud of. Again, many thanks.

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