By Eliza Boulware
It’s the season of Halloween, so what better time to talk about disguises, costumes and masks? But I don’t mean the kind of mask you wear on Halloween. I’m want to turn that literal mask into a metaphor. As a cancer survivor, we sometimes have to put a mask on to hide what we going through. We dress up in our superhero costumes or hide behind a disguise and pretend we are someone else.
Have you seen the commercials that show how people walk around with the face on a stick to hide how they are feeling? They hold up the smiling face but behind the mask they are sad. Well, that’s how it sometimes feel when you have just finished treatment or even when you first get diagnosed with cancer. Everybody is looking at you and they respond to how you feel. You don’t want your loved ones to worry nor feel like thy have to give up their life because you are going through.
We put on the mask to show we are happy and strong. We wear that mask and say that we must be the best Christian with great faith because you attend church and people ask the questions’ Where is your Faith, You know God would not put more on you than you can bear.” Well that’s true, but at the time that’s not how you feel. Then you put on the mask to be the best mom because you feel you have to hide the fear so that your children will know how to handle situations, but I pose the questions if we are not teaching them to face the reality are we really teaching them the right way to go. Then we wear that superwoman mask. No matter what I feel I can conquer this. I will go to work, clean the house, attend PTO meetings, help in the community and most of all accept all phone calls and listen to all their problems while you smile and said I am doing good.
Why do we feel we must wear a mask? After Halloween, children take off the mask, no longer pretending to be someone they are not, so why don’t we as adults take off our mask? Underneath that mask still lays a beautiful, strong, courageous woman. A person not ashamed of her weakness because that takes strength. A woman not ashamed of her hair loss because her beauty is in her real smile. A woman whose tears build her and not tear her down. Women, men and children reveal yourself. TAKE THE MASK OFF! BE YOU! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
By Eliza Boulware
Colors can have powerful meanings. I never thought just how powerful pink would be. As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pink is the color to represent breast cancer. I am a five-year survivor and my pink represents the power to fight against a disease that came to kill me.
Cancer starts to form without any warnings or signs. It can grow slow or rapidly. It can start one place and then spread. Cancer is sneaky, so you must be aware of what can cause cancer, what treatments are available as well as how to fight. You must be aware the food you eat, how much sugar you intake and your weight. It is very important to know your body and to do self-examinations monthly. Early detection really does save lives, therefore the earlier you find it, the better chance you have of beating it. I found my tumor myself. I was diagnosed with stage 2 aggressive cancer. It had not spread so I was able to have surgery to have the tumor removed and then started treatment.
Now pink was not just a color any more but it now represents what I was fighting. There is power behind the color pink. It just not a color in October but an awareness to a disease and the people who had the power to fight it. It takes power to go outside with a bald head when once you had long beautiful hair. It takes power to not be ashamed when your body changes from losing weight or hands and feet turn black. Each person goes through a different experience but what is the same is the power within to fight cancer. So survivors, rock your pink. Family and friends wear pink not just to say breast cancer exists but as a testimony that we fight for a cure and honor the survivors. That pink is powerful not because breast cancer is powerful but because those who fought one round at a time had enough faith and power not to give up.
I gained power in sharing my story every chance I get. I cannot recall the author but it was a small book that said “Don’t waste your cancer”. I did not read the book but the title was enough for me. I had said from the beginning that God could heal me but if He allowed it to remain then what did He want me to do? Well, I was not going to waste it. I started a support group with the help of other survivors. I do all I can to help others as well as do a yearly celebration for any cancer survivors. I have my pink cape because I have pink power. The power lies within the person and it’s greater than the cancer. Don’t just wear pink, get the facts!
By Eliza Boulware
I am scared, or should I say AFRAID of dogs. Any size, any type – yes, even the tea cup dogs. I know it’s bad and it is sometimes embarrassing because it seems like everyone has a dog. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer and they told me it was aggressive which mean it grows fast, so I was faced with a greater fear. The fear of cancer and not sure if I would live through it.
Before I started treatment, I was told that they would bring therapy dogs around and I began to panic. If a dog came near me, I would run, jump, break things, as I screamed. My heart would race and it felt like I stopped breathing. Now I am trying to figure if I am sitting there plugged up to all these machines, what if I pulled the needle out? I began to pray and made my mind up that if I could face the fear of cancer, I will face my fear of dogs at the same time. My journey started and I became the main attraction. Everybody would walk up to see how I would respond. At first, I could not relax when the dog came in. The lady had to keep the dog from even touching me. As I continued treatment, I kept working on overcoming my fear. As you can see in the picture, with trusting God to face my fears, I was able to allow the dog to sit beside me and even rub the dog. I can’t express how major that was.
Lesson learned that when we trust God, we can face any fear and overcome them. Life sometimes has us to face some difficult situations and we become fearful of the unknown. I still don’t know why I am afraid of dogs but that fear could hinder me from doing what God has for me to do or can keep me from being in the right place to receive my blessing. Face your fear so that you can overcome what maybe hindering you on your journey. With God all things are possible. Face your fear!
This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!
By Eliza Boulware
I am Eliza Boulware, a five year breast cancer survivor. I can recall during a spiritual fast God spoke to do a self-examination. My first thought was checking my spiritual walk but I heard it again, so this time I did a self breast exam. I felt a lump in my left breast.
From there I went to the doctor and completed all tests needed and it was confirmed I had stage 2 aggressive breast cancer. My world was turned upside down. I became afraid that I would die because I had never been sick. After losing both of my parents, I had spoken that when I find any health problems, I did not want to suffer long. Now I am looking at my children and my granddaughter and saying, “not now Lord!”
I held it together at first. I allowed one tear drop when I was first told I had breast cancer but the flood gates opened when I sat with the counselor who went over the financial cost. I cried so hard because as a single low-income woman, how can I afford this and take care of my children?
As a minister of God, I had believed I was healed and now I was angry at God. I began to pray and I had to face that this was a cross I had to bear. I had to face this giant and believe I have the victory. Faith no longer was just a word but it became a true action word for me. I faced the giant called CANCER and defeated it. I went through 12 rounds total chemo treatments and 33 rounds of radiation. I lost my hair and did not hide it. My fingers and feet turned black. I told my story every chance I got. I continued to go to work, host my yearly conference and continued to preach God’s word. I faced my giant with my faith and family support.
I encourage everyone to face your giant. At first, it looks bigger than you can handle, but with God CANCER became cancer. Facing your giant with truth and education helps you know how to defeat your giant. Never give up – you have the victory.