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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)

TITLE: Acheivement
By Barbara Bjorge


I am dying…we all are. As I live each day I realize it could possibly be my last one here. It makes me ponder what have I achieved; what will I leave behind? We all leave a legacy, good or bad; what will mine be?
I never thought much about death until it introduced itself one day and came and took away many of the people I loved in a very short period of time. It was shocking to me! I also never thought of it much until it reached out for my hand, and I wasn’t sure if I was going with it or not. I didn’t accept the invitation at that time.
I was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast cancer in 2001. The Doctor said I had a 27% chance of survival. Not a huge amount, in my mind. It is a crushing feeling to get that news. It’s like someone kicking you in the stomach, real hard, when you least expect it. It’s surreal and frightening beyond words and you can’t grasp that the “other person this stuff happens to” is suddenly …you. The feelings are truly indescribable!
I went through the whole regimen of chemotherapy, radiation and adjunctive therapy, which means taking cancer drugs for 5 years following treatments. Chemotherapy had numerous painful and ugly side effects that make you wonder if it might be easier to just give up and die. Radiation burns but was much easier to endure. The adjunctive therapy drugs also carry side effects but they seem a small price to pay at that point.
After the initial five years of survival, you think it’s over, but it isn’t. As my Dr. keeps reminding me…”there is no cure for cancer yet and those who are still surviving are in remission; not cured.” This means that every time something is not as it should be, you endure a battery of tests to make sure that the cancer has not returned, in some form, in some place in your body.
The gift in all this is that you are grateful for every day and every experience and nothing is taken “for granted”.
I have had many accomplishments since the day I was introduced to death and still lived. I wrote a book and had it published. I learned to paint and was surprisingly good at it. I learned to love and give and be blessed and be joyful and I learned to ride a motorcycle. I learned to have fun. That was a big one for me. I learned to remember that every day I am here; I choose what legacy I will leave behind for those I love. I choose to leave one of faith and honor.
My biggest achievement in surviving cancer is that in facing death I truly learned how to be alive!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Manley03/17/12
Wow! I love this story and how it caused you to take life and live it to its fullest. A legacy to truly be honored! It is so unfortunate that something like cancer has to happen to us before we can truly appreciate life. I thank you for this story! It is indeed a good one to live by even though cancer is not in my life. This is a very well-told story and one that has a deep message.
C D Swanson 03/21/12
God Bless you. The Lord has plans for you, and so He gave you the gift of remission.

I was honored to read your story and touched by your words. I have many friends who are breast cancer "surviors"---some 10 years and longer. And they have a great attitude just like yous. But most important, like yours...a faith in God. Because through Him all things are possible.

Blessings to you my Dear~
Dolores Stohler03/21/12
I, too, am a breast cancer survivor and could read your story with great empathy. But I'm not sorry for the cancer experience since, like you, it gave me greater appreciation for the miracle and wonder of life, increased my faith in God and made me a stronger person. God bless you for sharing this.