It’s Always Something

Dear Reader:

How many times have I caught myself saying this expression “It’s always something”…when life finally seems to moving along smoothly and then suddenly my world is turned upside down.

At the time I received my breast cancer diagnosis I had just retired from teaching and administration…and was feeling rather lost after a few months of freedom. I was trying to figure out how I wanted to picture my retirement years…I knew more things that I didn’t want to do anymore… than what I did.

No more meetings, no more deadlines, no guilty feelings for saying “no” to committees and organizations that seemed to love to meet just for the sake of meeting. I was “meeted” out!

Last year Gilda Radner’s book about her experiences fighting ovarian cancer called “It’s Always Something” came out as a 20th anniversary edition. It’s hard to believe it has been twenty years since we lost this Saturday Night comedian who kept us laughing as the endearing character Roseann Rosannadanna …who ended each comedic routine with her father’s favorite saying on life, “It’s Always Something.”

I found myself laughing and crying over the book…she was completely honest in expressing all the emotions she was feeling going down a path she never wanted to go. She had met the love of her life, Gene Wilder, was anxious to start a family, had started another book on learning housekeeping for the first time, which was hilarious, when her world came crashing down around her.

She discovered something that I had to somberly realize also while going through extended treatments, tests, and surgeries:

“The only security you have is what’s inside you.” 

Until we receive a life-threatening diagnosis I don’t think we understand what real life is…I was deluded into believing that marrying, working, raising children, renovating a part of the house, balancing activities and responsibilities daily…was real life. Wrong.

Cancer is real life. None of that other stuff should define our time on earth. We shouldn’t have to come down with a potentially fatal disease to ransom back our life. True…in life “It’s always something” but everything doesn’t have to have our name on it.”

Since pivoting and picturing my retirement through creativity…both writing and gardening..I have never squandered another precious day…because I am finally conversing with God and letting Him lead me…instead of running around helter-skelter… meeting myself coming and going.

My appreciation from “little c” is valid…because I, admittedly, would not probably have discovered the value of just being me…without it.

I miss our Race for the Cure team (Legally Pink- to honor Tommy and Kaitlyn passing the Bar) each October when Breast Cancer Awareness Month rolls around. We participated from 2009-2017. I still have wonderful memories doing a community service together as a family.

But suddenly the entire venue changed in location and name… this coincided with us reaching our apex of donations from all you wonderful blog readers…and being recognized as one of the top five contributors that year…we were awarded a tent with our name…at the time it just felt like an appropriate ending as the children were growing up and starting to participate in other weekend activities.

Still I love October…it will always be a wonderful month, filled with memories of  shared hope and love.

On one of the daily morning shows last week they had a breast cancer surgeon talking about new options for cancer patients who have undergone a bi-lateral mastectomy. The surgeon was going over some new choices for reconstruction breast surgery.

She ended with….”Or a woman can just decide to be “flat and fabulous” and that is perfectly marvelous too!

I had to smile…since I have never been cancer-free I have never had an option to have reconstructive breast surgery…and really I am glad I didn’t have to decide…because admittedly being able to wear t-shirts or any blouse without a cumbersome bra is one of the greatest sensations of freedom…never will I ever have to jerk up a bra strap over my shoulder again. 🙂 A hidden “perk”!

I decided to order this t-shirt to celebrate my “freedom.”

So until tomorrow…

“What you do is your history. What you set in motion is your legacy.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The autumn sun setting on the patio…cascading fall colors across it.

 

 

 

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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