I have been trained to be "professional"; I spoke about it in my blog post managing-diagnosis-from-super-woman-to-cancer-patient-in-two-seconds-flat.html. No matter my career as an educator, I came of age in my world of financial services. That was always my "dream" during college and my MBA program - it was to work on or around Wall Street and I did for many years. During that tenure, I learned quickly the ways to present and be professional and those rules have just stuck with me ever since.
Those "rules" are unwritten and one of the big ones was always never discuss religion, politics or sex. I have no interest in talking about politics or sex but now I am compelled to speak a little bit about religion.
I was raised in a small town, in a middle class Italian household which meant mass every Sunday and gravy afterwards. This faith was just something I had to "do" to not be in trouble and I always thought I would not go to mass once I moved out.
When I did "move out" it was for the opportunity of a lifetime - I moved to Rome, Italy to get my MBA with a scholarship. It was time to test out my theory; would I go to mass without being "told" to go? Well, the first time I went to mass while living "alone" (without my family but with friends), it was at the Vatican (hey, living in Via Santa Maria Mediatrice it meant that was practically my parish - though there was a church right across the street from my apartment)!
I felt a peace at mass, I felt connected to my family at home and I kept going week after week either to the Vatican or to the church across the street aptly named the Church of St Maria Mediatrice.
When I returned home, many things changed and yet I continued to go to mass. I was never "pious" or "preachy" and I have no intention to start to be now but I do want to talk about how my faith has helped me during this "challenge" of breast cancer.
There is something about being faced with your own mortality that makes you want to be more open, to share more. I cannot explain it beyond knowing that for me, writing and speaking have been something that has helped me process many things in my life and as I wrote a blog for my business, I have felt more comfortable with being "out there" but still I have held back on writing about faith's role in my life due to my professional conditioning. I realize now that the landscape of companies has changed since I left Corporate America in 2009 and things are a bit more free but it has never been my way to be open like this about things involving faith.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found that I needed to find peace. Once my energy levels came back, I focused on incorporating exercise and diet changes in addition to meditation and yoga taking-back-control.html. At the bedrock of all of this, though, is my faith.
I believe I have been cured (I wrote about this previously in my blog; I just believe it) and part of what helps me believe it is my faith. I could be wrong - hey, I thought I never would get breast cancer and yet here I am blogging about my experiences with stage 3 Breast Cancer. I was feeling a little off this past weekend and spent more time worrying than I want to - and I relied on some feelings and beliefs to get me through it. When I went to mass late Sunday night I saw the readings were about Jesus healing someone and I felt reassured.
My personal feeling is that Padre Pio is involved with me during this process. I cannot prove it to you and I am not trying to but I have felt a kinship with the Italian priest and even had a dream where he told me he knows me. During my day yesterday when I had some fears, I looked up and someone in front of me was wearing the Padre Pio bracelet and it brought my comfort but it did not last and that night when I went to mass, with the little worries of potential spread of cancer, the readings were about Jesus healing people and it was like, OK maybe now I can relax and let go. That is all I can do - breast cancer has take a lot from me but it has, through my own little ways of living, given me a lot, too. I realize I cannot live my life worrying and in fear - I just have to live and for me, that has been and always will be with faith.
This is what I do in the time between.
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