#iamsubject project – Warrior


by Jen Lesea-Ames

I have my routine in the mornings: I love waking up around 5:30 a.m. to pad to the kitchen in my soft slippers, feed the cat, make a pot of coffee, drink an “Emergen-C” and hop on my email and Facebook.  I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and I read a post from a friend of mine whose good friend, who appears to be around my age, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer that metastasized to the liver. This struck a cord with me, as it is the same cancer that my dad was diagnosed with in 2004. Beyond the initial shock and sorrow, I thought about how my hip dysplasia and upcoming surgeries pale in comparison to her battle. Then my mind wandered….

And I thought, “No matter the nature of our health battles, be it cancer, hip dysplasia, or another disease, we are warriors.” To me, being a warrior is encompassing a certain mind-frame and the determination to fight and push back at the disease.  While we are prone to feelings of self-pity (we are human, after all), warriors allow the feelings to come, honor them, release them, and move on. Warriors prepare in every aspect of getting ready for battle, through scheduling doctors’ appointments, fighting with health insurance companies, asking questions, asking more questions, arranging a support group (rallying our troops), ordering necessary medical and/or health equipment, and handling logistics of all ends of the spectrum.

Warriors have a strong mind. We are determined to do anything and everything to improve our state of health. When it’s time for surgery, warriors step into the hospital (battle), courageous and positive. After all, the warrior and her troops (in this case, the surgical team) are prepared. Warriors are determined to do anything and everything to get back their health, from physical therapy to follow-up treatments. A warrior’s will is unwavering, so warriors have to dig deep within themselves to find strength.

When I find myself being upset about my condition, upcoming surgery and rehabilitation, I remind myself that I am a warrior. It’s empowering. That reminder enables me to keep pressing on to be strong, positive and fearless.

Diane DeBella

As a writer, teacher, and speaker Diane has spent over twenty years examining women’s issues. She is the author of the collective memoir *I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves*, and editor of the anthology *I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening*. As a long-time faculty member at the University of Colorado, she received the CU Women Who Make a Difference Award and the CU-LEAD Alliance Faculty Appreciation Award. Through her organization I Am Subject, Diane helps us understand how we—as women—are impacted by the society in which we live. By claiming ourselves as subjects of our own lives, we become empowered and also provide strong role models for other women and girls. In healing ourselves we help others—a beautiful way for women to create nurturing, supportive communities.

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