There Be Dragons

In a recent e-mail my aunt referenced the old mapmakers who, when faced with uncharted territory, used to write “There be dragons.”  That’s how it feels as we wait for results from my bone & CT scans.  Scary, unknown, and forbidding.  I just find myself hoping there aren’t very many dragons.  


Then, just when I was about to post this, I read two comments that I had missed in response to my “The M-Word” post.  This is an excerpt from one:


I never in a million years dreamed this would happen to me….never ever expected that the monster would be inside me. Cancer was so not in my plans-I’ve been fighting to have my life back since last October…I may win this battle, but my innocence and my fertility have been sacrificed to the dragon. I am deeply thankful for everyday and every kindness and I know what every wish will be from here on out and now that I’ve met fear for real-I know what not be afraid of…and what to be – so I’m training and arming myself for the next battle, whenever it may come…next time I will be waiting outside the gate, sword drawn. (Although let’s hope it’s more like laser blasters)—posted by Jules


(Thank-you for the comment in its entirety, Jules. My friend Eden asked, “Do you just cry your face off every time you read the comments on your blog??” I do. I cry my face off. Total waterworks.  But in a good way.) 


OK so, kind of a creepy coincidence that both Jules and I were doing the dragon associative imagery thing – but also very comforting and strengthening to picture myself standing at the gate, sword drawn. 


Comforting, and then (because my imagination is about as sophisticated and easily contained as an untrained puppy) it descended into a nerded-out Dungeons-and-Dragons type fantasy, as I pictured all my friends and family and all the “sisters” in a Lord of the Rings-meets-Braveheart type scene: everyone armoured-up and ready for battle outside the gates of Mordor, wielding gigantic swords, faces painted, thumping at their chests à la Mel Gibson meeting the British army… I know I’ve cross-pollenated my genres but good god did I chuckle. Honestly, just the vision of my mom sporting chain-mail while trying to look menacing with a sword that’s way too heavy for her* — this alone is worth the drive to Middle Earth any day.


So thanks Jules for making me cry and laugh all at once – and for giving me some good positive spin on my “there be dragons” fear of the unknown.  Let’s hope the dragons aren’t too numerous or too ravenous, and when it’s all over they’re just a heap of scales and claws and bad smells at our feet. 


* Yes, mummy, I know:  No sword is too heavy for a mother protecting her child. I love you too.



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

5 responses to “There Be Dragons

  1. jo

    “Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

  2. julie spurr

    I’m hoping too, Leanne….nothing but a heap of stinky scales!

    Glad i could return the favor;)and glad to know you’re laughing…it is indeed good medicine…

    hang in there!!


  3. geminigirl


    The community of love and support which you have created with your blog is amazing. I checked in to see how your week was going and read “There Be Dragons”. I love your Middle Earth visual, well worth the “drive”.

    Thank you for adding the excerpt from Jules’ comment. I went back to read her response in its entirety and, like you, could really relate to her experience of cancer.

    Cancer may have taken our innocence and our fertility, but it hasn’t taken, and can’t take, our inner strength, our ability to laugh and our hope.

    And Leanne, your closing sentence to your Mum, made me cry. No, no sword is too heavy when it comes to protecting our child.

    Enjoy that Lord of the Rings/Braveheart combo. What an awesome dragon slaying team!


  4. lcoppen

    JO – I love that quote – and I’m now able to start beliveing the fairy tale might come true.

    GEMINI – I feel the same way about the community this blog has created – and it’s our collective experience that makes it so. It’s the unexpected silver lining on this dark storm cloud of cancer: we have friends out there we’ve never even met. Thanks for always being there.


  5. Jodi Lastman

    I just dedicated a page to Leanne Coppen at LIVESTRONG Action.

    This page is a part of the world’s largest dedication book that LIVESTRONG
    Action will use to pressure world leaders to do more to fight cancer. Can
    you add your name to my dedication page? It’ll only take a second, and you
    can help me reach my target of 25 dedications.

    Please click here, it only takes a second: [1]

    Right now, Lance Armstrong is dedicating his ride in the Tour de France to
    the fight against cancer. And after the race, he’ll send this dedication
    book – with your signature – to world leaders and pressure them to make
    cancer a priority in their own countries. It’s our best chance to push for
    better treatment, more funding for cancer research and access to care for
    everyone around the world.

    But if people like us don’t stand up, these leaders won’t pay attention.

    Will you check out my dedication page? Leanne Coppen inspired me to
    take action – hopefully they’ll inspire you to do the same: [2]

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