Abby's Diary | How Many Virtues are There?

If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me when I wanted something I couldn’t have, that “Patience is a Virtue” I’d be a fairly wealthy woman today. Primarily because it’s become quite obvious to me especially since my diagnosis, that it’s a virtue that at fifty seven, I still don’t have. I don’t want to wait. I do not like to hear the word no. I want what I want when I want it. Does that make me a bad person?

As a salesperson I never accepted no as an answer. It might be no today but I’d be right back at you the next time until I eventually wore you down or as I’d like to think won you over. It worked for me then and I was hugely successful!

It has been only 17 days since cancer, melanoma, and my name were used in the same sentence. I have had two oncology consultations, two surgical consultations, blood work, and I’m thinking the clock is ticking here, let’s do something and get this thing out of me now! I was told that there was a good chance I’d have my surgery on Aug 31 but then when no one called me back last Friday to confirm that of course I was bummed so I picked up the phone first thing Monday morning to ask “what the heck?” and I was told that juggling the three hour OR requirement, with two surgeons schedules, and other patients much sicker than me, put my surgery date at September 25 now. I then asked the scheduler “You do realize my life is at risk here?” and then I started to cry. I was scared, angry, and disappointed that what I was told was not going to happen. I knew it wasn’t her fault, she was trying her best, and yet I didn’t like what she had to say so I took my frustration out on her. It didn’t change the outcome and it made her feel bad, and me feel even worse. More importantly I was not demonstrating my faith.

The next day I had a follow-up appointment with my oncologist that had the blood work results and would be managing my case after the surgery. He is such a cool guy, cancer survivor, doctor, educator, and practical thinker. So he asked me if I had seen the surgeon, had I had the surgery etc… and I told him what happened. I looked him in the eye with fear and panic on my face and asked him what my blood work results were and how afraid should I be that the surgery was now pushed back a month?

He looked me in the eye and said stop worrying so much. Your bloodwork is good, your tumor is somewhat contained, you are otherwise in good health, my Rx for you is that you should take a vacation, have a few cocktails, be with friends, but wear your sun-screen. Mood elevated immediately!!

My self-imposed penance for not keeping the faith was to start by looking up the phrase that “Patience is a virtue”. To my shock I found that there is actually a list of 52 Virtues. It made me wonder how many othervirtues I was lacking.

Virtue noun 1. Behavior showing high moral standard 2. A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person

Between now and September 25th I have identified the five virtues that I may need a little more help with so I plan to practice them as a way to keep my mind focused on the positives.

My five are:

  1. Detachment is experiencing your feelings without allowing your feelings to control you. Instead of just reacting, with detachment you are free to choose how you will act. You use thinking and feeling together, so you can make smart choices.

  2. Patience is quiet hope and trust that things will turn out right. You wait without complaining. You are tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes. You picture the end in the beginning and persevere to meet your goals. Patience is a commitment to the future.

  3. Peacefulness is being calm inside. Take time for daily reflection and gratitude. Solve conflicts so everyone wins. Be a peacemaker. Peace is giving up the love of power for the power of love. Peace in the world begins with peace in your heart.

  4. Thankfulness is being grateful for what you have. It is an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving, and being. Appreciate the little things around you and within you every day. Think positively. Thankfulness brings contentment.

  5. Trust is having faith in someone or something. It is a positive attitude about life. You are confident that the right thing will happen without trying to control it or make it happen. Even when difficult things happen, trust helps us to find the gift or lesson in it.

To see the other 47 virtues and their definition go to

They are taken from “The Virtues Project Educators Guide: Simple Ways to Create a Culture of Character.”

Thank you to all the people that call, text, pray, and continue to ask about me. Thanks Susan Bradshaw for my pocket wooden Cross. I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and caring.

In these troubled and scary times, we probably all could polish up on a few good virtues to help us find our way and be the best souls we can be. Finally, I am free for mini vacations if anyone wants company from now til September 24th. Doctors orders!!!

I will close this week’s diary entry with this quote on virtue.

“There is no road or ready way to virtue” - Sir Thomas Browne

P.S I finished writing this blog at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday 8/30 and at 10:00 a.m. Thursday 8/31 the nurse surgical scheduler from MD Anderson/Baptist called to tell me I had been bumped up to 9/6. Do you think God is trying to teach me the power of letting go and putting the control of all this in HIS hands?

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