Making the Most of Your Vulnerability

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If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • Nothing can ever prepare you for the shock of seeing yourself for the first time after having your breasts removed. Standing in front of the mirror slowly removing the bandages knowing that the breasts that you had for 50 years are not going to be there.

    And even more so you can never be prepared for having your eight year old son standing there with you, looking on with wonder. However, there he was seeing my chest with stitches going across each side where there once was a breast and nipple. And, out of the mouths of babes as they say, he said, “Mom, are they going to put the dots back on?”

    Through my vulnerability and willingness to bare all, I had the opportunity to teach a very valuable lesson. Of course you have to know your own child and what they are capable of taking on and seeing. But for me, here was a great opportunity to explain to Jack the difference between inner vs. outer beauty.

    Dots or no dots, I was able to share with Jack that one’s values are not based on appearances. That we are all perfect, whole, and complete no matter what happens to us.

    So what I did was share a story with Jack that a friend had told me, about two puppies. I had him visualize two beautiful lab puppies and then asked him, “Which one has more value?” Then I had him visualize the same puppies but with one of them having a leg missing. And then asked, “Now which one has more value?” Of course he said, “They both still have the same value, Mom.”

    While I did go on to have my dots put back on, Jack will always have that lesson that outer appearance isn’t as meaningful as inner beauty. And, that it is also ok if you do want the dots back on. Either way, you are still the same person on the inside.

    I hope to inspire others to be vulnerable and raw with their children. That we can teach our children that life brings you challenges. And, it’s how we choose to respond to it, that defines us in the end.

    I chose courage and perseverance throughout my battle with breast cancer. I also recited to myself over and over the truth that I was still the same person in the end.

    What we teach our children is how we choose to handle the challenges in life…. It can either come from fear and anger, or acceptance and love.

    If we allow ourselves to be in a vulnerable position as I was with my son looking at my breasts, there are lessons to be learned that can transform our lives. That the more I allow myself to be vulnerable, the more courage I seem to find.

    It is in this raw state that answers seem to come to me that might help others as well as myself. This is the legacy I want to pass on to my son.

    Kathy Waller

    Kathy Waller, along with her twin sister Karla Reasor, is cofounder of Link of Support. A website that helps both the patient and the caregiver, get through the battle of breast cancer. She decided early on in her battle against breast cancer, that she did not have to do it alone. She and her sister created a way to stay connected with loved ones, even when they couldn’t physically be there with her. The website grew into much more. Kathy and Karla came up with a free video training series for both the patient and caregiver. Kathy’s series is titled "From Tears to Triumph... or everything I wish I knew about breast cancer, when I was going through it.", and Karla’s, "How to be a Confident Caregiver". They plan on adding more teaching videos,as an ongoing resource library on their site. Kathy and Karla continue with their teaching series.  They now put on live workshops, called , "From Woe is Me, to WOW am I", empowering women to move forward after cancer, with dignity and grace. Kathy and Karla knew from the beginning of this venture, that they wanted to give back financially somehow as well. Kathy shares her inspiring story here in the Today’s Brilliance section. From this story grew the, “We Give Dots Back Foundation”. Supporting women financially through the breast reconstruction process after bilateral mastectomy.

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    1. Patrick Kirwan
      Patrick Kirwan says:

      I don’t have young kids these days, but I seem to learn things from my ‘baby sister’ each time I am with her or chat with her. Great article sis, it takes courage to face your fears but even more to share it with others.

    2. Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. You have an amazing way to encourage other women to face their situation with faith and courage. Great job!

    3. Patrick
      Patrick says:

      Thank you Kathy. You do show the courage and perseverance through hardship. My sister had breast cancer to, it was about 3 years ago. She was lucky enough to survive it. Like you did Kathy. Congrats. I don’t have any children
      Hope you have a good night hun.
      Lots of Love Patrick


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