Next week will be 7 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I can honestly tell you that my life is more full, exciting, and rewarding now than ever – and breast cancer was the vehicle!

Of course I wouldn’t have believed myself 7 years ago.  I was caught up in rage that my entire belief system had betrayed me. Having a bachelors in Metaphysics, I believe that form follows thought.  I was one angry, confused woman wondering how I developed breast cancer without even one previous fleeting thought.

As the treatment phase of my cancer drew to a close, I began to examine my spiritual conflict.  What I discovered surprised and elated me.  Coming from a dysfunctional family, I reached adulthood with a fair number of emotional wounds.  In my late 20’s I undertook an earnest path of healing.  My consistent mantra became “I am whole and healed.” Self-help books, classes, therapy, seminars, and spiritual community did wonders for me.  But at age 50, at the time of my diagnosis, there was still a significant gap between where I was, and where I wanted to be.

The breast I lost came to represent the way I had nurtured others ahead of myself all my life – a common condition for women.  Determined to not repeat the experience of breast cancer, I decided it was time to put myself at the top of my list.

It wasn’t as easy as I hoped.  I had to learn to distinguish what was true for me from what was expected of me.  I had to learn to deal with the guilt of being “selfish.”  And instead of being thrilled for me that I was becoming stronger, some key people in my life took exception to being bumped down on the list.  A few of them left.

But something magical was happening.  I may never have thought of having breast cancer, but I’d spent years thinking about being “healed and whole.”  My breast cancer experience was slowly transforming me into the healed woman I had always hoped to be.  I had become more whole with only one breast than I’d ever been with two!

Shortly after this realization, I had a series of dreams that led me to travel alone to South Africa to test my new self in the world.  (You can read the whole story in Unlocking the Dream – available as a FREE GIFT between now and November 10th.  Simply click HERE to receive your copy.)

Serving as the first white teacher in a rural Zulu school opened up an entire new life for me.  The adventure didn’t go quite as I had planned – I barely escaped with my life – but it did, in fact, turn out more spectacular than I could have imagined.

I wrote a book about the experience – Ruby’s World, the book at the center of this “Blogosphere Tour” – have since been appointed as the first American Ambassador to the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa, and next spring I’ll travel with their executive director, Sizani Ngubane, to the United Nations where together we will address the Commission on the Status of Women.

So ladies … get your annual mammogram!  Make sure it’s digital (capable of very early detection.)  My mammo is this afternoon.  And if by chance you are diagnosed with breast cancer … go ahead and have your rage and grief.  Get it all out.  Then … look for the healing opportunity.  It’s there.  I’m sure.