Believe: The Power of a Word During a Cancer Journey

Believing and having faith during a seemingly impossible time in life can make all the difference.

Believe- it is a word that is used in so many contexts, for so many reasons. It is a word scrawled on my left wrist in the form of a tattoo, a constant reminder to never lose faith, no matter what the circumstances and a word that I have tried mightily to adhere to as my sister has battled cancer.

I am not necessarily talking about believing in an ethereal being, although that to gets many through the difficulty of cancer, too. For me, it has been many things. It has been the spark that was ignited with the acceptance that maybe this was my future falling into place as everything else in my life seemingly fell apart. Believing has caused an enduring fire within me to achieve what I once thought unimaginable.

It gave me a purpose amongst the unknowns and has guided me to where it is I am today. It has propelled me through my deepest fears and past my endless anxieties. Knowing, and realizing that although I will never reason with the “whys” of my sister’s illness, I also know I would not be entering into the nursing field.

To believe is something that varies and is different from one soul to the next. In my eyes, it is focusing on the things you can control and letting go of all that you cannot. When you believe, you are practicing patience and learning to accept what is- despite all of your wants and desires. You are learning to be at peace during one of the most restless events that will plague your life.

How to believe is a question that I do not think has one answer. I do not think that having the capacity to believe is something that one can be taught. More than anything, I think it requires a sense of self and a self-awareness that sometimes can be hard to find. It is a balance of knowing what to do in the most difficult of moments.

When my sister was diagnosed, I had no idea of all the incredible people that we’d come to know and the endurance that it would take to see it through. I learned the despite all the bad, I had to believe that things would not always be that way. I had to learn to believe that those who had done this before were leading us in the right direction. That, though terrifying, people had traveled this road and we could do it, too. When my belief waned, all I had to do was look around at her phenomenal care team and the belief that she could beat cancer was almost instantly restored.

I also had to learn to believe in myself and to trust that I could do this, that my sister could do this. When my faith wonders, I look at my tattoo and am reminded that I need to believe and that as hard as the hardest of days come, I simply have to remember that we did it yesterday, so we can do it today. Tomorrow, a new sun will rise and we will have the chance to begin again. Even when everything feels so impossibly hard, I am fighting along someone who has far more to lose in this was than I do.