THX Cancer. THX MCV.

Posted by Kelly Lewis Share Your Voice


Breast cancer is part of my history.  My mom beat it at 55 and my sister kicked its ass at 46.  And their experience has taught me a lot about leaning into my own fears and self care.  

Today was one of those leaning in and taking care days.  I had to lean right into my fear of my family's history becoming my reality.  And I spent my morning taking care of me rather than spending time caring for one of our clients, our business, my family, or the new home we are building.   

I headed down to MCV bright and early to have my yearly mammogram and breast exam.   I arrived at The Nelson Clinic and was greeted by a smiling woman who took my car and apologized for the wait (the wait which is a free valet parking service provided to all Nelson Clinic patients).  I walked up the hill and headed into my first appointment.  Joyce, the receptionist at the Breast Imaging Center, checked me in and as I was leaving, shared heartfelt appreciation for giving her all of ninety seconds to finish up her paperwork from her last patient before turning her attention to me.  Then Gilda, a stunning woman wearing bright pink scrubs with enough warmth to heat up Chicago on a cold winter's day, called my name.  Gilda was my technician for the morning and she made a relatively uncomfortable process, that I still don't know the results of, so comfortable I left smiling - inside and out. 

As I made my way back down the hill to my next appointment, my internal dialogue was running wild.  "What just happened?  Shouldn't I be all anxious and scared? I am not.  It is raining, I have no umbrella, and I am happy.  Where is all of this coming from?   Who am I?"  I ducked into the coffee shop to grab a chai tea latte and regroup.  A couple of sips and a few steps later, I was heading out of the elevator and turning the corner into the Oncology department.  

There, in the basement of MCV's Nelson Clinic, was a sea of humanity.  It overwhelmed me at first.  So many people and so much unnecessary sickness.  It made my stomach do flip flops to think of how much each person could be suffering and how very little I could do to help.  Then rather than looking away, once again I leaned into my fear and rested back in my chair.  This time, I saw something different.  I saw connection. I felt care. I experienced kindness.  I saw people who couldn't be more different - young and old, wealthy and poor, free and imprisoned, healthy and sick - absolutely together.  I saw that cancer doesn't discriminate.  It doesn't care about the differences that keep us separate.  

And then I thought about this critical time in our world's history - polarization is rampant, we are divided, focused so much on our differences and hanging onto our beliefs so tightly that we can't even imagine what we have in common.  We can't see what could possibly bring us together.   

I am pretty sure that if something as awful as cancer helped me experience togetherness, that anything is possible.  And as I bring my day to a close, I do so with hope just like I imagine each and every cancer fighter and survivor have to do on a daily basis.  

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Small Kelly Lewis Hello! Here are a few things that I have found support me in creating the life I want, keeping myself in check, and leading with courage and compassion: a slow walk with my hubby and our pups, my work, honesty with myself, the smile of another, and mother nature.


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