Fearful or Fearless? You Decide

Spark 3: How Do You Navigate Your Biggest Fears?

After having cancer by comparison on a scale of 1-10….most things are on the lower rung. Basically the lesson I learned when ill was one has the following choice: Which feels better? Being a victim? or Being VICTORIOUS!I choose the latter but let me be clear. Being VICTORIOUS does not necessarily mean fully recovered to wellness when it comes to health nor wealth when it comes to business success.

Continuing IGNITION in the http://handmadespark blog challenge series:

One is VICTORIOUS with health when one feels well enough to make a plan for the day and execute any part of it. I recall a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with colon cancer at the same time I was diagnosed with head and neck. We both went through treatment with which we were able to purchase some additional ‘time’.

I had begun treatment in July and finished in September after 6,000 rads which caused swelling and made the circumference of my throat about the size of a small pea and the tissue scabbed much like a badly skinned knee. Swallowing was painful. Coughing worse. Sleeping a challenge. Eating….well, eating was excruciating. By the time I began to feel better I weighed about 102 lbs. and nothing in my closet fit!

In November, while recovering from treatment Maestro called to ask, “How are your chops?” to which I hoarsely replied, “What chops?” He was very quiet on the other end of the phone and then adamantly stated, “Well, I’m scheduling you for performance in the spring of next season. Get ready!”

I wept in both gratitude as well as despair, for I did not think it possible to return to performance.

With extraordinary effort, exceptional coaching and GRACE, it took me nearly two years to rebuild my singing voice to concert quality. I had many nerves and reservations on the first night of five scheduled performances. Yes, I said FIVE performances. It would have been plenty just to have one concert, but no…not I! I suffer from that well-known if not misguided characteristic: Anything worth doing is worth over doing! Maestro made things a little more difficult by insisting on telling the audience of my triumph BEFORE I had sung the first note! I summond all my courage, opened my mouth and my voice did not fail me.

My friend had tickets for the first performance of the return concert. A few days after the five scheduled performances Mary Beth’s husband called to say she had gone into the hospital instead of coming to the concert and that the cancer had spread to her liver.

I had laryngitis after the concerts brought on by a combination of physical and emotional fatigue, but I was NOT to be dissuaded!  I called Maestro and requested a copy of the ‘work tape’ (every concert is recorded for review, somewhat like sport tapes are revisited to figure out improved plays.) I gathered up my gowns, shoes, hair pieces and make-up, grabbed the tape recorder, swung by Maestro’s to pick the work tape, drove to Mary Beth’s and lip-synced the entire performance in her living room, costume changes and all!

She loved it! I loved it! Afterward while chatting she told me the doctor said, “There’s nothing he can do for me. “What shall I do?” I sat for a moment and then said, “You know, we are all terminal. It’s just that some of us understand that sooner rather than later. I think the best idea is to get up every day and make a plan and as long as you feel well enough, go do it.”  And that’s exactly what she did. Mary Beth was still playing doubles tennis up until two weeks before she died.

So I navigate my fears by defining VICTORIUS as BEING in the midst of the creative daily breath and knowing that every Hide A Heart bought or given is one more positive message shared somewhere in the world.


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