even financially taxing experience is quite a load to carry by
internalizing it. But also, sharing our experiences has the
potential for profound impact, on those near us, at a distance, or even on a larger scale, capable of creating social movements. The story of Robin Robert’s journey, from her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007 to her 2012 MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome, which is a kind of pre-leukemia) definitely falls into the full range of that spectrum.
felt that she was “slipping away”. The sound of her nurse’s voice calling out her name brought her
back. She thought for a moment that it was her mother’s voice instead of her nurse’s that was
calling to her. This really got to the core of me because not only was Robin going through this tremendous test of will, but also her mother passed during this time. But her sharing and recounting
of that moment also did something for me; it helped me face and release a lot of emotion which I so needed to do for my healing process.
My intense treatment was 10 weeks long. I only remember crying about three times (more crying came post treatment, while I was recovering at my mom’s). My mindset before going into it was “I got
this”, but simply, I did have many of the fears that anyone going through something similar experiences. I was in survival mode, but I was also internalizing a lot of emotions. At one point in my treatment, I had an emergency visit to the hospital. I was holding it together, albeit not so in my facial
expression because it seemed to make my sister privy to what was on my mind. She turned to me and said "You’ve come a long way, stay the course, you’re almost done”. That was my cue to let the
tears flow. When I heard Robin’s “slipping away” moment I realized that that’s what I had felt at that hospital visit; that I was “slipping away”. Because I was in survival mode, I had a proclivity to not allow myself moments of "weakness” or vulnerability. When Robin recounted her moment, my reaction made me face the fact of that intense fear, and further self-probing my realization that I felt shame
for even allowing my thoughts to go there. Again, Robin identified some of the things many of
us feel during those times. She felt she had “burdened” her family; I felt I was burdening my family and the least I could do was to make it through.
For me, it’s been such a blessing to witness Robin’s journey. It has also been a blessing for many,
many, more as her experience has encouraged others to become bone marrow donors. Just a day
following her announcement to fight MDS, the bone marrow registry increased over 1000 percent! The power in sharing is that among other things it helps you get through with a lighter load, and it can help to lighten the load for others as well. Watch the videos to witness the power of Robin Roberts: