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I've always told my girls that bravery isn't the absence of fear, it's acting in the face of fear. Going through this though, I'm not so sure. I want to amend that definition. I think bravery is acting in the face of fear when you have a choice not to.

I guess that's why I don't think of me as brave. Really, what choice do I have? Are there women out there who don't have the cancer removed? Women who opt not to go through chemo and/or radiation? With two children and a husband, do I have that choice? Not really.

I think acting in the face of fear, when no other choice exists, is surviving. Maybe that's what I am, a survivor. According to Dictionary.com:

Survivor: a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.
Survive: To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere; To live, persist, or remain usable through.

Yes, just a survivor. That's all I want to be.

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Other Thinks (11)


Yes, you are a survivor!!! (Thank G-D!!!)
But there must be plenty of people who choose not to face reality, and take their time on removal of the cancer and treatment. Or who choose not to be treated. I just can't imagine being either one of them.

Great post. I think it's pretty brave to talk openly about your fears. So many people just burrow into deep denial, so I do think you're brave in the way you are handling this. Hang in there!

You are already a survivor, Kim! Just by the very nature of your decision to proceed to walk through all of the gates ahead of you, you are proving to be a survivor, darling child!

I found this on the internet this morning, and it speaks to me about you and your courage, especially this line:
"courage is not the absence of fear (which may be a vice), but the ability to feel the appropriate amount of fear."

"An action is courageous if it is an attempt to achieve an end...despite penalties, risks, costs, or difficulties of sufficient gravity to deter most people.

Similarly a state such as cheerfulness is courageous if it is sustained in spite of such difficulties.

A courageous person is characteristically able to attempt such actions or maintain such states.

For Aristotle, courage is dependent on sound judgement, for it needs to be known whether the end justifies the risk incurred.

Similarly, courage is not the absence of fear (which may be a vice), but the ability to feel the appropriate amount of fear; courage is a mean between timidity and overconfidence."


There is absolutely no question in my mind that you are not only a survivor, but you are going to be one with a great deal of bravery and an amazing personal style of humor and gutsiness. I have not posted much, but I am reading your journey notes and sharing them with David for the medical perspective. And please know that you and your family are always in my thoughts. We will miss you in Paso this year, but I am sure that there will others trips to CA for this in your future. Keep the spirits up.

I think you are very brave! I have been so impressed at how open you have been talking about all the details (breast cups in the MRI and all). You could have ignored it, hoping it would just go away, but instead you have chosen to fight and that is brave indeed!

You are a survivor. A very strong survivor. It is good that you are thinking of these things and talking to your girls about this. Communication and support are so important - now more than ever.


Kim, I think it takes a great deal of courage to not fall into despair when life throws hard knocks. And you've taken a pretty severe blow! But you've made a deliberate choice to get on with your life, to be honest with yourself and us, and maintain your sense of humour throughout.

To me, that's courage.

Terry (teaberry):

Yes, Kim, you are a survivor AND you are brave.

You found that lump and acted on it in the face of greatest fear. If that's not bravery, I don't know what is.


You are managing to keep your sense of humor through this experience and I think that IS brave. Sharing your feelings on your blog IS brave. Anyway, it is ok not to be brave if you don't feel like it. Allow yourself that.

What you say makes a lot of sense, Kim. Some times I find the language that is used in the face of illness very strange - it is all war language - fight, wage a war on cancer, be brave, courage, never give up. I like your definition better - you do what ever you have to do to be there for your loved ones. You are carrying on, you are living.

Songs I like that include the word "survivor": Survivor by Destiny's Child, and Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. (One of my top three karaoke songs!)


Kim - when life deals us a tough deck, we find out that we are much stronger than we ever imagined possible. You know what I mean. I have gone through that (and still am) and you are going through it now (and doing a damn fine job). Here's to life's "better hands" and to getting well quickly. Thinking of you a lot, all the best!!

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