What Invincible Means to Me

A beautiful blog written by Suzanne Longstreet 

Another Step On My Journey From Invisible To Invincible

Over the past several years, I’ve been enjoying my business and my life immensely. I felt like I had hit my stride in my business, my health and my life recently. I’ve been coaching and training more people and loving every moment. I’ve enjoyed watching my clients transform right before my eyes. I’ve lost about 75 pounds and find it much easier to move and I’m enjoying being able to purchase clothes off the rack in regular sized stores. Every day I look at my husband and fell more and more in love with him. All was going really well.

And then it happened….

I heard the dreaded words. “The results of the biopsy are positive. You have a cancerous lump. You have breast cancer.”

Whoosh. The breath came out of me all at once. I was shocked and yet a small part of me was prepared. You see, I have a history of breast cancer on my mother’s side. My grandmother died of breast cancer in 1943, my mom’s sister had breast cancer in the 1970’s and died shortly after she had a mastectomy and my mother had a lumpectomy when she was in her 60’s. By the way, Mom is still alive and doing great.

So, I’ve been diligently going for a mammogram every year. This is how they saw the lump and how I was diagnosed so quickly.

I had surgery on April 9th and they removed a 1.3 cm mass and 3 lymph nodes. All the margins are clear and the 3 lymph nodes were negative. All good news.

Why am I telling you all this?

Many of you have heard me speak about my journey of moving from Invisible to Invincible. It’s the title of my talk and my book.

My natural tendency is to slip into being invisible. When something like this happens, it’s natural to want to turn inwards and hide. Sometimes, you want to pretend it’s not happening. While, I am good at putting on a mask to the outside world and pretending that all is well, I realize that this is not transparent and not in integrity. So, I’ve decided to “open my kimono” and share my journey with you.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve definitely felt more invincible in my mindset and outlook on many aspects of my life. The dictionary definition of invincible is “to be impervious.” I can tell you that I don’t believe that we can nor should we be impervious. It wasn’t until after I met with the surgeon and he shared that all my results were negative that I could fully wrap my hands around the feeling of invincible.

Being invincible to me, is about handling negative news and being able to bounce back up. It’s about your mental strength and having the fortitude to know when you need to rely on others and when to stand tall.

Over the past several months, I have leaned on many people to help me stand tall when I need to and whose shoulders I’ve needed when tears came. I’m blessed to have a loving and supportive husband, family and friends.

A friend of mine went through her journey of breast cancer exactly one year before I did. She told me that we just have some larger steps to climb. Of course, they’re pink. I credit the amount of therapy, training and positive outlook that continue to help me climb these big steps every day.

The Power of a Label

Recently, I was gifted with a Pandora charm with the breast cancer ribbon on one side and the word “Hope” on the other. When I received it. I cried. You see, just like the label of “battered woman” I never wanted the label of “breast cancer”. And yet, here I am. I have these two labels.

I will tell you that I have changed their meaning. I choose to believe that these experiences have happened for a reason. As my coach told me, “This is not happening to you, this is happening for you.” With that short and simple reframe, I have been able to go through this journey with an invincible lens, rather than a victim lens.

I loved that the doctors told me that they are impressed with my positive attitude. To me, this affirms that I’ve been doing all the right things by clearing up the negative emotions from my past, focusing on what I want and taking action. These are all the things I tell my clients. And, today more than ever, I practice every day.

What Helps Me

1. Play out the “what if” game to it’s fullest. Talk to someone about your deepest fears and then you’ll know that you can get through anything.

2. Share with your loved ones and seek support from those who have been through the journey you’re on. Their strength and wisdom will inspire you.

3. Be gentle with yourself and love yourself. Count your blessings and focus on the positive all around you.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. Unfortunately, we all have a story of cancer to share. It may have affected you or a loved one. My wish for you is that you are inspired by all the stories of people who have climbed these big pink steps and kicked cancer in the butt. I know that this is what helps me every day.

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