Twenty More Brunette Strands

Twenty More Brunette Strands {On Redefining Best}

February 23, 2017 | Posted in: Cancer, Chronic Life

Twenty more brunette strands. The white of the pillowcase was speaking an unwelcome truth. Though the official word was that this cocktail administered this time in this way probably wouldn’t cause the hair loss of rounds one or two….the proof was on the cotton percale.  Here we go again.

Disappointment was knocking and once again would require emotional energy to answer.

It’s been almost four years since the unfriendliest of words invaded my innocence. “You have ovarian cancer,” the caring young doctor proclaimed over me with the authority of a seasoned judge.

“We won’t know how massive a problem it is until I ‘open you up.’  We will do that on Thursday and we will hope for the best.”

Hope for the best? Hadn’t that ship sailed? The “best” would’ve been that I never had to sit in that sterile-feeling beige office hearing those insidious words directed toward my otherwise healthy self.

“Best” would be that I would never have to utter the c-word to my kids.

“Best” would be that I would wake up and chuckle at how “real” the nightmare felt.

But life, in the last four years, has become all about redefining words. Click To Tweet

After that Thursday spent as a guest in an all-day surgical extravaganza – “best” became they got it all and maybe it wouldn’t come back.

Since then, “best” along with a bunch of other words have required redefining – especially since the cancer did come back…twice so far.

It’s become a habit, this redefining words. And it’s become a friend. For redefining words has brought gratitude…and gratitude has brought peace.  And peace, sweet peace has held me together.

Best has become a transient word, shifting with each disappointment. Right now, “best” means I feel well enough to take part in some really important upcoming family events. I am so hoping for the “best.”

My face has endured some muscle atrophy and the corners of my mouth no longer turn up the way they used to. It’s probably not something others notice, but cancer has a way of mocking what once felt fair and beauty has become another word worthy of a makeover.

Beauty no longer means a cute outfit and edgy haircut. Click To Tweet Instead. I feel beautiful when I’ve been kind and I see it in the openhearted response of the one to whom I’m relating.

It’s not about a flawless complexion anymore, but beauty defined means I offer what I have.  Did I give my imperfect but genuine smile? Did I make someone feel important? Did my eyes communicate the other persons worth?

Good day has become did I have a goal?  Did I drink water?  Take all my meds? Do what I set out to do that day? Some days it’s to sit on the porch instead of the bed. Other days as energy permits, good day becomes a walk around the park or a completion of a project.

Hospitality has shifted from the idea of fixing a big, table worthy meal to sitting with my friends as I am and focusing on what their hearts are really saying.

Rest used to be a synonym for luxurious living.  It now connotes a necessity one might feel for a fully funded emergency bank account.

And the most powerful word of all has changed course dramatically. What does it mean to “win” against a disease? Click To Tweet (Especially a disease whose track record shows big numbers in the victory goes to the disease column?) I know many pour their energy into the physical battle.  God bless them.  Go for it and don’t turn back, sister!  

For me, however, the word “win” has become much more about staying soft-hearted toward good things like friendship, love, peace, joy and hope as opposed to letting the harsh realities of life jade my perspective.

That’s where this redefining game meets the cruelty of disease and turns it on its hateful head.  A sense of winning has become the spoils of a soft heart that nothing, including 20 strands of detached hair on a white pillowcase can take away.

Twenty More Brunette Strands
Marianne Rutledge Jones is wife to Rick and mother to newlywed Annie, son in love Ben, and college sons Sam, and Jacob. As a licensed professional counselor, her passion is to encourage others to live purposefully and joyfully in tough times.  Though her nest has recently emptied, she enjoys filling it with vintage treasures, cherished friends, and depth in conversations.

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9 Comments

  1. Kelly Johnson
    February 23, 2017

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    Oh Marianne- Thank you for sharing your beautiful, wise, life-giving words here with us. Your perspective on your brave journey is inspirational and wisdom we all need to hear, whatever the battle we are facing. I would love to meet you in person and give you a hug, but know that through our mutual friend Melinda and now Stacey, you have been and will continue to be in my prayers.

    • Marianne Jones
      February 23, 2017

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      Thanks so much, new friend Kelly! Hugs are always a good thing…sending a virtual embrace hoping one day our paths will cross in person! Thanks for your affirmation of my thoughts…I’m just gobsmacked by the writing community Mel runs with…and how it exudes support and encourement as we refine our voices in order to lift another up. #grateful.

  2. Wendy
    February 23, 2017

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    You are truly a beauty, Marianne! I love reading your soul. Thank you again for sharing it!

    • Marianne Jones
      February 24, 2017

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      Thank you for such sweet words.

  3. PS
    February 25, 2017

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    Marianne, As always, I love reading your written words. Hang in there, cousin, as you have been doing. You inspire people near and far (including me) with your take on life.

    L,
    Pam

    • Marianne Jones
      February 27, 2017

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      Thank you Cousin! And as always, I love having you in my corner. Xoxo

  4. Steve Rutledge
    February 26, 2017

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    Hi Marianne:

    I want this line to stay with me:

    For me, however, the word “win” has become much more about staying soft-hearted toward good things like friendship, love, peace, joy and hope as opposed to letting the harsh realities of life jade my perspective.

    That’s a real gem!

    Love you!

    • Marianne Jones
      February 27, 2017

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      Love you too Steve!

  5. Tara
    March 28, 2017

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    I found this post today, and it ministers to my heart – in the same way our talks did. Much love to you. Love, Brave One

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