It is frightening to think of possibly getting cancer, how much more actually having it! None of the 19 featured survivors in my book ever thought they'd get cancer, but they did. None of the four featured survivors thought they would have stage IV advanced cancers, but they did. Nevertheless, how they dealt with their diagnoses and moved on was what made all the difference!
Fear is natural when you have to face your mortality. However, allowing fear to take control of your life and how you deal with your cancer should NOT be an option. Below are some reflections and advice to help bring out the power you inherently have within you to be strong, especially when you have cancer.
Rev. Linda Siddall, another stage IV Pancreatic cancer survivor emphatically states: "My cancer is my cancer and side effects are side effects. I have high-energy days and I have low-energy days. For the former, I enjoy what I can. I have Girls Night Out with girlfriends I've known since we were kids. We laugh often and we laugh hard. I'm just trying to stay alive ... I have wasted so much time on the petty nonsense that consumes far too many of us; time we won't get back. Today that stops. No more. I am more awake and aware now more than ever, and I hope you wake up too and begin living life fully while you can."
And, according to stage IV Colon cancer survivor Scott Michelsen, "Life is too valuable. It's too precious. I just can't imagine giving up on it, no matter how tough. There are days when I think, 'Oh, I can't do this anymore.' But then I remind myself that I can. I just have to.... I try to find the good in everything. So what if my feet hurt. I can get some medication to lessen the pain. It's still a beautiful day, and I'm enjoying the blue skies with the gentle breeze. You just have to find the good in life and move on."
Cindy Reading, a stage IV Breast cancer survivor wants readers to know: "Even though I went through feelings of uncertainty that were crazy, because they actually gave me an 'expiration date' saying, 'You have three months to live,' I knew that it wasn't 100% guaranteed either. So, I kept telling myself, 'Okay wait, I only have today really. Whether or not I have cancer, I have today. So what I'm going to do is make it good for me and make it good for others too, as much as I can!' I feel that even though we go through all this painful experience, we can still have fun and be into the things we enjoy. Sure, I get tired and sometimes don't feel good, but life is short. It is. However, we can also make it just a BLAST!"
Each of us have more greatness than we give ourselves credit for. Whether the strength and courage we need are deep within or just there by the surface, we owe it to ourselves to tap into them and learn how we can be strong in the face of cancer.
I close with one of my favorite quotes by Bob Marley:
"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."