When someone is told there is a lesion on a mammogram or that a biopsy is positive for cancer, patience is not often the first virtue that rises to the surface. “Yeah, I’m carrying the ‘Patience’ flag, but I don’t know why!” laughed Carol E. from Farmington Hills, Michigan. “My friend didn’t believe me!” Carol is walking for the 5th time this morning since she was diagnosed in 2008 with a Stage 1 breast cancer and went through a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. While she couldn’t work for awhile, she was forced to move out of her home, something that would test anyone’s patience.
Instead of saying “Why me?” Carol adopted the philosophy, “I had cancer, but cancer didn’t have me!” She seems an expert in the field of positive thinking. She found a better place to stay at a lower monthly rent and adores her landlord who styled her basement and kitchen to accommodate her serious cooking ability (she has advanced training in the culinary arts!). As a touching side note, her only son who was in the reserves asked her if he could volunteer for active duty in Iraq in order for her to keep her home. “My priorities had changed by then,” she said. “There was no way I was going to put my son in that position. People mean everything.”
Carol is a flight attendant for US Airways and has been on the Athens flight for some time. I had to remind Carol that true patience is attending to hundreds of in-flight passengers for 13 or more hours, a job most of us could not handle. She just laughed, “It’s true. It does require some patience, and so many of my fellow flight attendants have had breast cancer! Mine was caught on a routine mammogram. Get your mammogram!”
If you are on the Susan G. Komen Michigan 3-Day this weekend, say hello to Carol, and I’m sure you will quickly see why she is proudly holding her flag in the Survivors’ Circle. Her spirit of patience, hope, and happiness is hard to miss!