Karen Rice believes that true beauty is found during critical times of your life.

Going through a serious illness, you learn to know what true beauty really is, as well as true love. Who’s truly there for you at this most critical time of your life.

I’ve experience a lot in my life, many trials and tribulations.  One of my trials was having to raise my child alone after a broken marriage how at times it can leave you with such a negative self-esteem.  For a while you feel as if you did something wrong and that your life is over, no one will ever want you again, because you couldn’t keep that man, that husband. But a lot of the times going through such an ordeal, makes you that much stronger, where you pick yourself up and keep going.  I had to for my child sake.  Life was rough, and I made it through.  But I’m not so sure that I would have, if I hadn’t been for my child. To look and see the joy and smiles she brought to my life each and everyday, I knew I had a purpose. Through our lives together, I gain my strength and began to feel a lot more for myself, my self-esteem came back with full force, and I was loving myself all over again.  I had a new beginning all on my own.

But later in life things turned around yet again, in a negative way, a way like no other. I ran into a head-on collision not only with breast cancer, but colon cancer as well, and it changed my entire outlook on life. I thought I had it rough years before, but going through cancer is the top of the iceberg. There’s nothing like it. Yet through my tragedies and all that I had to endure, it all became “an awakening” for me, where I received all the strength and encouragement from and through my daughter, as well as my grandchildren. Just another purpose was thrown at me to fight cancer and live.

Through it all, I found what true beauty really was, because even through all the chemo, radiation, the pain I endured, I still felt beautiful. I would look in the mirror even more during this time, because I thought that it would change me drastically, but instead I gained even more beauty, because this time the beauty was real. It showed me that even going through it all, I could still look and feel beautiful, and it shines brighter; each day after yesterday got even brighter, because I was able to see it.

Yes, at times, I would look at the surgery areas of my body, where I was transformed and it bothered me, but I would look past it, because that area, that site could be covered up. True beauty is within and when you feel beautiful within, it shows clearly on the outside and I could not have done or felt the way I did, and still do, without my children. I feel within my heart that I survived cancer both times, to be able to share my life with and through my children while sharing my story with others.

I share my story with others, hoping to make a positive impact on someone who’s ill or otherwise, where they can proceed life in a while new way and still feel beautiful along the way. I must say, from the beginning I thought right away that my cancer diagnose was truly a “death sentence.”  I found out later that it was truly an awakening, and I realized that I was about to face a new beginning, new hope, and a whole new prospective on life.  I’m still among the living, and through it all I’m still beautiful, so who am I to complain.

I truly believe when you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease such as cancer, it’s for a reason.  You have a purpose.  And through that purpose, true beauty is born.

– Karen Rice- Houston, Texas