Dear Audra,

Dear Audra,

I was going to start this with something positive and inspirational…but the truth that you and I know all too well is…cancer sucks.  Bad.  It’s scary and ugly and takes a hell a lot more than it gives.  It doesn’t care that you’re a mother or a wife or a daughter…or just someone that is too busy to deal with something this huge.  It doesn’t discriminate and it shines a beaming spotlight on what little control we thought we had.  Cancer is a force to be reckoned with…but so are you.

A friend told me once…you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option.  And man if that isn’t the truth.  If you would have asked me three years ago what my biggest fear was…I would have said spiders or accidentally eating a jalapeno.  I never would have imagined that cancer would one day end that sentence.  Where you are sitting right now is probably the scariest place you’ve ever been.  Dealing with the harsh reality of having your looks stripped away from you.  Feeling like it’s so vain to worry about losing your hair but as women…our hair is part of us.  Wondering how your husband will look at you…how your kids will react.  Terrified that your hair is just the beginning of an up-hill battle that is so daunting it just seems easier to set up camp at the bottom and give up before you’ve even started.  But let me tell you something that is so much truer than cancer will ever be…YOU CAN AND YOU WILL.

Simple as that.  You are strong and resilient and one hell of a fighter.  And if you ever doubt that for one second…look at the three boys that you are turning into strong, amazing men.  Look at the husband that loves you so incredibly much and would put this on himself in a second.  The friends that would do anything for you.  The people in your life are a reflection of what you have to give and I have no doubt you are going to give this cancer the fight of it’s life.

But in those quiet moments.  The times when that feeling sweeps over you and you can’t seem to find the bright side.  Where doubt and fear and a whole lot of anger creep in…remember this.  You are incredibly brave.  Courageous.  And fearless in a way most people will never experience.  And you are all these things not in spite of cancer…but because of it.  Because something crept into your life and threatened to let it crumble…but you are far too strong to ever let that happen.  You are a survivor and an incredible $&@*ing woman.  And don’t ever forget it.

From one survivor to the next…kick some ass.

Your friend,