Second Chances…

Second Chances…

I’m writing this blog, sitting by my parents’ pool on a breezy, but sunny, Memorial Day. Little white petals flutter down from large sixty foot trees and blow across the patio. They look like snowflakes until they blow into the pool, the water pushing them into a cluster near the steps.

I’m in one of my moods. You know, the type of melancholy moods that writers…and people…are prone to have. It’s been a weekend of “There’s no food in the house” and “What can I eat for breakfast?”—even though it is 1pm. As a mother, the demands placed on me have really put me in a yucky place.

I know exactly what I need: to go away for a while.

castle-combeJust like Anne in Persuasion.

Just like Elinor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility.

Did you ever wonder why all of these people, people who lived idyllic and privileged lives with large estates, servants, and little to really worry about other than the weather, took vacations to Bath or London?

I’m certain it was, in part, due to a feeling of “blah” regarding their lives and surrounding environment.

That’s how I feel.

On May 31st, it will be two years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, I have suffered emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Don’t most cancer patients? While I did not get sick from chemo or radiation (although I DID get sick OF chemo and radiation), it has been the “after” that has presented the most pain.

  • After a double mastectomy.
  • After implants.
  • After skin infections.
  • After chemo. (#HATED)
  • After surgery to remove the reconstructed boobies.
  • After life-threatening infections.
  • After blood transfusions.
  • After skin grafting.
  • After radiation. (YUCK)
  • After yet another after surgery.
  • After fat grafting (OW!!!)
  • Blah.

In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne is given a second chance with Frederick. I don’t think life often presents second chances to correct some decision that we made in the past that didn’t quite turn out exactly as we thought it would turn out. It took her eight years to get that second chance, but she needed little persuasion to jump at it when it presented itself.

So it makes me wonder…where, exactly, would I want a second chance to correct a course of action in my life that could have turned out quite differently if I had chosen an alternative? Would I have opted for a second opinion? Would I have gotten my mammogram earlier? Would I have insisted on a biopsy for that cyst several years ago?

Second guessing and wishing for a second chance is all well and good until I realized that, when I really think about it, where I am today is directly rooted in my past decisions.

Would Emma have realized her feelings for George Knightley had she not gone through the social pains of her tendency of nosiness? Would Elizabeth have fallen in love with Mr. Darcy if Lydia had not run off with Mr. Wickham? Would Anne have realized how much she loved Frederick—and how little appreciation her family had for her—if she hadn’t refused him at nineteen? And Marianne Dashwood…what chance would Colonel Brandon have had to win both her heart and her hand if Willoughby hadn’t broken the former by denying the latter?

Jane Austen knew something that is worth reminding ourselves: regret nothing in our lives…for each step, whether perfectly executed or resulting in some stumbling, leads us on the journey of life. Despite a few bumps and bruises along the way (or an extra set or two of boobies, as in my case), who we are today is because of what we experienced yesterday; and these experiences will also contribute to our tomorrow. 

24 Responses to Second Chances…

  1. You have come a long way. We all get into those ‘blah’ moods every so often. I haven’t had cancer or treatments but been there for others as their support system.

  2. Thanks for sharing your wonderfully brave post with us! It’s humbling to learn how you and so many other people battle with what life throws at them and still come across so strong and full of energy and good humour! Wishing you all the best and I hope new and wonderful things come your way! Hugs xx

  3. Dear Sarah, Thank you for bravely sharing your personal life with us. What a revelation this was for me. In part because I had no idea of your history, and with our interactions thus far revealing you to be a cheery, humorously upbeat person, I never would have guessed you had suffered so. Also, I must thank you (and several of the Austen Authors who have done the same) for sharing the “real” person behind the smiling portfolio picture.

    We all have our difficulties, of course, some trials more traumatic than others, but all of us are affected by this thing called LIFE. I tend to be a very private person, and go out of my way to present a positive face in public. When I consider talking frankly it feels like whining, or making excuses, or begging for sympathy. I don’t like playing up the “victim” aspects of my life. Additionally, I cringe from being misunderstood, or having my failings or “issues” used against me (as has sadly been done to me by “friends” I shared with privately).

    Yet the reality is that we all need the support offered from people who care for us. More importantly, however, I am realizing that sharing one’s struggles isn’t mainly to garner sympathy, but rather to help others who are going through tribulations. Honesty is the best policy.

    I pray your health remains strong. No more cancer!!

    As to the second chances question, I am in 100% agreement with this statement: “Second guessing and wishing for a second chance is all well and good until I realized that, when I really think about it, where I am today is directly rooted in my past decisions.”

    Wondering “what if?” is an exercise in futility, as I see it, since we can’t go back in time (yet-LOL!).

  4. I alway say to my sister: All we have done, all we have lived make who we are today!
    Never give up and remember blah moments too are important in our lives!
    I wish the best for you and all the woman that suffers of breast cancer and other disease. And remember: You’re not alone!
    Blessed be! )o(

  5. I am inspired by your attitude Sarah. I believe that never giving up is more than half the battle. And everyone is allowed to have the blahs on occasion! So glad you are past the worst.

  6. You have really been through so much. You have been in my prayers throughout all of this time and even before you had the cancer. I have not had breast cancer, but my Mother, and several of my Aunts did. It was very hard watching them go through it. They didn’t seem to have much treatments for Breast cancer like they do these days. I pray that it all gets better for you and I wish the very best for you. God bless you always…

  7. If the “blahs” are all you’re suffering from at the moment, give in to it. I think we’re all entitled to a bit of that “blah” time. I know I’ve been there and done that. You’ve been through more in two years than many of us deal with in a lifetime. I’ve been through my share of life’threatening infections, etc., and it’s rough! There’s no way around it. Only God is perfect, and the human condition isn’t. Love and prayers, and keep up the fabulous writing. You’re giving a gift to the rest of us by creating so much pleasure through your writing!

  8. Radiation wasn’t so bad, just very tired. Then came chemo. Almost killed me. In the hospital for blood 3 times. Couldn’t eat and more complications. Lost my hair and 50 lbs. Then Dr. changed my treatment to oral chemo. 6 large pills a day, 3,000 mg. for 14 days, off 7 days, then start over. Also, chemo/bone infusion once each month. God has been so good to me through all of this and is still with me. I am 78 and not giving up. ( this chemo has done away with my fingerprints and caused neurotherapy of the feet and hands.) But, God has left me here to love and pray for others.Yes, I would take these treatments again. I’ve gotten to be a part of my grandchildren’s special moments. May God bless you.

  9. What a revelation this post was for me. I had a breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 which was completely unexpected since there is no history of it. Anyway I was fortunate and had the biopsy, lumpectomy, radiation and chemo. Early stage one and now I go for the follow ups, check ups etc. An experience which gave me insight into a great deal. People, or lack thereof, help or none, and just contemplating life. I am stronger now but a month ago a wrist, hand surgery was imperative and this involved enduring pain, discomfort and suffering not unlike the cancer. A cast for a month, no help from a soul, relied upon myself although I was and still cannot function since one hand is totally non-functional, hand therapy now and still no assistance. I look forward to the day when I can travel and once again enjoy life. I wish you the best of health, happiness, enjoyment and realize and know what you have endured and how your entire life changed. Best wishes and much success.

  10. Wow! With what you have been through I’d say you are more like the cat with 9 lives. I love it that you haven’t given up and are open to more 2nd chance, 3rds, 4ths, however many it takes. Hang in there Sarah, you are an inspiration. Jen Red

  11. Ah, to go away for awhile. It does sound like a happy answer to a case of the blahs! I love that your answer was to contemplate the potential consequences of your previous choices – I think mine would have been to contemplate options for a getaway! If you could squeeze in a getaway, where would you go?

  12. I haven’t been through what you have but I did watch my daughter-in-law go through radiation & chemo and the illness that went with it and all the other “Blah” stuff. Unfortunately by the time we talked her into going to the doctor it was too late. She was in last stage of stage 4 of lung cancer & it had already spread through her body. On a positive note I am now 5 yrs cancer free from renal cancer. Just remember that no matter what we go through God is there beside us. When times get rough I always remember my favorite poem “Foot Prints In The Sand”. God has gotten my family & myself through a lot of trials in the past 9 years. If you ever need prayer (I have been praying for you ever since I heard that you had cancer) please feel free to call me (will send you my number if you contact me through email) or let me know. God be with you, give you strength, comfort and courage to face each day with hope, certainty that you are healed. God bless you.

    • Now Regina…if you HAD to do it again, would you still do that? My husband has a theory that anyone who has to go through yucky cancer treatment should be automatically waived from having to work again. Kinda a second chance at life… 😉

  13. I have not suffered from breast cancer but from another form. I know that there are many of us out here who understand what you went and/or are going through. I do hope your support system helped you through it all. May God bless and heal you

    • Initially, yes. Then they kinda petered out. But that’s OK. I had my kids and hub. I think that, until you go through it, you can’t understand. Just like Anne from Persuasion. And even Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. I felt like I wanted to shake them and tell them to get with the program. But their choices (and pain from those choices) created a level of suffering that we cannot understand. In the end, it all worked out for them. Especially Marianne. I have a crush on Col. Brandon… 😉

Your thoughts are precious!