I can clearly remember this day. It was late November, but warmer than normal. I had just returned from Zumba, my new favorite thing. I grabbed the mail, as I rushed into the house. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was running behind. I had to get the family ready to get on the road and head to my aunt’s house. I threw the mail on the coffee table in the living room and started barking orders to my four boys. I wanted the house to be in order before we left, I hated coming back to a disorderly house.
I took a break from the fury of activities to open the mail. I immediately saw a letter from my doctor but I didn’t open it right away. I was a healthy 36-year old woman, who went religiously every year to annual exams. I visited the dentist three times a year and the eye doctor annually. I recently started a healthier diet and increased by physical activity. I had no reason to be alarmed. I only went to get a mammogram because a few ladies from my church were recently diagnosed and I wanted to show my support. I wasn’t even 40. After all, if something was wrong the doctor would call you,right?
I opened the letter.
“Dear Noni….We found a lump in your right breast”
I can’t tell you what the rest of the letter said. I was immediately stricken with panic and fear. I picked up the phone to call my doctor. Now I was mad! How could they send me a letter like this and not call. I demanded to speak with the doctor. He was gone. Of course he was. It was the day before Thanksgiving. She tried to calm me down and encouraged me not to worry. Are you kidding me? I was a woman who was always in control and suddenly I felt powerless.
And then I got mad. This was total bullcrap!
I spent my entire adult life putting everyone else first. I grew people’s programs. I served and volunteered to help their vision. I helped build businesses. And just when I get in a position to start my own, I get this news. I felt like an impatient kid on the playground, begging to get a turn on the swing. When was it going to be my turn? When would I get a chance to do what I loved?
After I got mad, I got determined! And everything changed.
In my basement, I had a 4 drawer file cabinet with decades of ideas, training manuscripts and articles. I was not waiting my turn any longer. I was leaping and not looking back. I refused to leave this earth with my dreams trapped in that steel box. The Diva Movement was launched. The next month I announced it on Facebook.
Life can be unpredictable. Your life can change in an instant. But our responses to life’s uncertainties is what determines if we will fall or soar.
Some people jump, others are pushed. It really doesn’t matter. Dare to pursue your purpose and reach your dreams. Sometimes you have to jump and grow your wings on the way down. Refuse to give up. The only person who can stop you is you!
October is National breast cancer awareness month. Fortunately, after additional mammograms and ultrasounds, my lump was benign. Regular breast cancer screenings are still best for early detection. For additional information on breast cancer prevention visit https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html