Monthly Archives: January 2016

Courage and Confidence with Liver Cancer

Courage and Confidence with Liver Cancer liver cancer transplant
We both look scared. My sweet mama’s nightgown reserved for scary times.

During my battle with liver cancer, I loved reading all of your personal cards, emails, and messages. How could I possibly respond back? (Picture me typing all night.) Instead, I folded strong words into my heart and recited them to me when I needed them. (Daily, hourly) Little love letters. One morning after my liver transplant, while poring over more of your emails and messages, one word kept popping up – Brave. I remember my face felt hot. I didn’t feel brave at all. I was terrified. I needed courage and confidence with liver cancer.

A lot of emotions go through your head when you survive the threat of death. I tried to write a blog about it but my thoughts and feelings got tangled up. I began to notice how frequently we all use battlefield language describing Hepatitis C and other liver ailments. Words like heroic, brave, confident, courage, and warrior are dotted throughout facebook posts about illness, treatments, and health.

I looked up the definition of the word Confidence. The original latin gives this: With Trust. When the personal living space that your spirit occupies is threatened (Translate: Your body is dying) trust is hard to come by.

I looked at the word Courage. Medieval use implies: With Heart. Brene Brown calls courage, “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Less than being heroic, it is more like telling the truth about what I’m afraid of. I have never felt less like a hero. I’m softer now than at any time in my life. But to be soft and vulnerable takes confidence.

brene cancer liver transplant
We show up.

Now that’s a word I have loved ever since watching Julie Andrews swinging a guitar case toward the VonTrapp Family mansion. I have confidence in me! What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder. The lyrics have always seemed to loan me a confidence when I had none. Not that I’ve ever been the whimpering kind. But I have lacked trust.

I have lacked trust in God. He’s never failed but my faith has taken a beating. There was a lot at stake this time. I trusted my doctors more than any other surgeons on the planet. Gosh I lay my life in Dr. Duffy’s hands. I trust my family to make good choices for me when my own reasoning fails. But something can always go wrong.

Trusting takes an act of believing in what cannot be seen. Peering into the inky blackness of my future with cirrhosis and cancer, I was blinded by odds. How could I display trust to YOU, all of my Best Friends in the battle? I was face down in the arena. My adversary was a reputable killer.

Yet YOU, my comrades in the stadium considered me a brave hero. You cheered. You threw flowers. You booed my enemy. I do the same for you loveys. liver cancer hepatitis
We know what it’s about.

We didn’t set out to eliminate fear. We set out to display confidence in the face of fear. That’s what confidence does. It is about learning to trust ourselves. To rely on our ability to put one foot in front of the other.

One test at a time.

One doctor appointment at a time.

One lab at a time.

One RX at a time.

Yes, our feelings are strong. Our actions are stronger. That’s what we do, besties.

Brave warriors? Call us that. Fearless heroes? Heck to the yeah. Acting with trust and speaking our truth makes heroes of us all. We face each obstacle. Not always brave or fearless – but definitely with Confidence and Courage. Lordy how I love you all. Xoxoxo Karen:)

maria confidence cancer
I have confidence in me!

Fave Song Lyrics from Maria:

What will this day be like? I wonder.

What will my future be? I wonder.

Oh, I must stop these doubts, all these worries.

If I don’t I just know I’ll turn back.

I must dream of the things I am seeking.

I am seeking the courage I lack.

Strength doesn’t lie in numbers.

Strength doesn’t lie in wealth.

Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers.

When you wake up — Wake Up!

It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to.

All I trust becomes my own.

I have confidence in confidence alone
(Oh help!)

Besides which you see I have confidence in me!


I wish I owned this movie!