When Beauty Conquered the Beast

On December 4, 2008, Judy  answered a phone call at 12:34p.m and heard the words "breast cancer." Anyone that knows Judy Kassaye can affirm that she understands the meaning of friendship in a unique way. She probes her pals to find out what they need and want in friendship so she can love them in ways that are specific to their needs. Like striking oil, the diagnosis caused what she knew of friendship to bubble its way from the depths of her being.

I imagined myself fighting for my best friend’s life, knowing that “she” (really me) is important to God, and the world. There are things that “she” is supposed to do and people’s lives that are to be affected by her (my story).

In Beauty and the Beast, Belle was the beautiful girl that looked past the surface to find her prince hidden inside a beast's body. Judy, a modern-day Belle,  foraged for meaning in the loss of her breasts and six months of chemotherapy.In the midst of scar tissue and a port that transported medication directly to the monster that ate away at her body, she found a refreshed clarity for her future and increased strength to live each day.

Surviving cancer means more than living through the diagnosis and treatment. It means finding the strength to live my best life and fulfill the purpose for my future. To fight for life means you can't let IT control your mind and emotions. I choose to dream of my future.

This beautiful woman lives each day guarding the  entrance  to  her mind and soul and wants to empower others to do the same. Judy's years in human resources are a part of her past. Last year, she started school all over again. She's pursuing a degree in nursing and it can't be a surprise that she plans to work in oncology.

I want to work "hands on" with patients. I want to encourage  and inspire them that they can live. I want to motivate other women to fight the Beast.

The Beast comes in all kinds of disguises, loss of health or the sudden end of a relationship  or job. It might attack your body, your mind or your reputation, but Judy's words apply to every woman fighting for her best life.

"I choose to dream of my future."