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Women have beautiful bodies.  Don’t get me wrong (yet, again); it’s the rock-hard male body that makes me weak in the knees [and thank you, Michelle Kenneth, for pointing out ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue is due out soon. Thankfully, they have an online gallery up already.].  But that’s just it: the male body is hard. Women are blessed with beautiful curves and soft contours.

Even under these gentle lines, women can hold amazing strength. But what happens when your body fails you?

This morning, I read about another young triathlete who was sickened by a chronic disease in which her body’s immune system became hypersensitive, and effectively incapacitated her from basic daily functions with fever and pain. But this particular woman fought back and is working to get her body back on the same page she is. She isn’t allowing failure in her life, or her body.

Athletes, in particular, face many challenges to keep their bodies working for them. From proper nutrition and training sessions to ice baths and stim, it’s all part of the package.

But I come back to the woman’s body. One part that is so beautifully woman can also harbor something so dreadfully fatal. The breast. This unique and heralded part of the female body. This piece that is so distinctly woman.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Saturday, I walk for my aunt, my “second mother,” and friends in the community. My women are blessedly all living cancer-free. But the unrelenting irony of this weekend is that two of my friends are also walking … and the woman they are walking for was put into Hospice care this week, losing her battle to breast cancer.

As much as we may try to nurture our bodies and care for them, sometimes our bodies fail us. And sometimes, no amount of strength or dedication can overcome this failure.

I am grateful to be able to walk this weekend. I want more women to be able to live cancer-free. And, although my body has given me its fair shake of obstacles, it has not failed me. And so I use this body beautiful of mine to help others combat their failing obstacles.

~M

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