"It Could Happen To You"


This song was stuck in my head. I was in total shock as I couldn't wrap my mind around having breast cancer. How could this be so?
It was a moment of disbelief hearing a diagnosis of breast cancer 4 days before my 64th birthday last November. I could not speak for days. Denial set in, disappointment, extreme sadness, and thoughts of my mortality kept me company. Didn't I suffer enough over all these years when back in 1998 I was diagnosed with Polycythemia Rubra Vera, and have to live life one day at a time? This hit me harder than having PRV. Breast cancer is riding an emotional rollercoaster until such time as I accepted this as truth.
I found it very difficult to accept, and when I told my children, I couldn't say the words 'breast cancer', I told them I have BC. Of course, we all suffered emotionally, but my family is always supportive, laugh a lot, and positive about outcomes.
I immersed myself deeper into my spiritual practice. I was inspired by Syma Kharal from www.flourisinggoddess.com, meditating on infinite love, chanting Om Ahem Prema, I Am Divine Love. Incorporating the Mahamrityunjaya mantra into my practice - to free myself from the bondage of disease, and liberate me from the fear of death.
It was during those quiet days that I started to accept the diagnosis. I had to own it, and face it, and ask what this needs from me, what it needs to teach me, how can I give it love and acceptance.
I also had to honour it, and ponder what I had to learn from having breast cancer. I called on my Inner Goddess to intuitively guide me.
I realized I needed to love myself, love everyone unconditionally, to appreciate all my loved ones and everyone who cross my path, and be open to receive their love. To forgive myself, and others. I had to become a better person, now.
It was during my time at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, after the surgeries, that I had an epiphany; I suddenly felt very comfortable with my new condition, and was overcome by a great sense of love for everyone, including myself.
I was grateful for Dr Tulin Cil and her team of specialists, and all the nurses who were very caring, compassionate, respectful of my medical conditions, and above all treated me with dignity.
Late one night, while lying on the hospital bed, the idea of sewing genuine leather totes exclusively for the Breast Cancer Clinic at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Bespoke leather totes was born as a fund raising initiative; a way of showing my appreciation and gratitude for all that was done for me. I have a passion for sewing. I felt that instead of bringing me food the hospital staff should just bring me a sewing machine.
I spent the next two weeks recuperating at my daughter's place with her spouse and one-year old son. My grandson was the focus of my attention, and I couldn't be anything but happy around him.
My other 2 older grandchildren spent time with me, keeping me busy. Their fun-loving attitude and playfulness are infectious. Again, no time to think about my disease.
Designing and sewing the totes have proven to be therapeutic. The fact that I am fully occupied creatively leaves me no time to wallow in self-pity. I decided to call my leather totes "Grands & Co". A name I felt honoured my grandchildren and the comfort I get from being around them.
With Grands & Co, I can taste the excitement as I travel into a world of unlimited creativity.
I invite you to share in my delight. When you purchase one of my hand-made leather totes, you will not only enjoy a fine piece that ages well with time, but will support the world-class work that takes place at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. The profit from each sale will be donated monthly. You can follow the donation amount on the donation chart.
We all travel the same path, however, each journey is different, but we can take inspiration from those who are passionate about living life to the fullest.
Debra Ann