“At 34, I have another chance to live the rest of my life with a consciousness that there's great purpose in the pain.”
When I reflect back to that 34-year-old version of myself, and that very ambitious gentleman thinking about what I what I know now is I would say, I'm enough.
I always had this thing that I had to be the best, instead of just being satisfied with trying my best. I was raised to be an individual— the standout. Race to the top. That's kind of what we're conditioned to understand that although I'm one person it's the togetherness. It's the we that really makes this life so special. It takes a village to raise a child, as they say, and it takes an army to really survive cancer.
That's just those that are praying for you and those doctors and nurses and your caretakers and your children, it takes everybody — all hands-on deck to take care of you. And so, if everybody's taking care of just one person, that that kind of puts us in a position, not even a responsibility, but just a wonderful opportunity for us to take care of each other.
I deeply have learned over these times that we truly belong to each other. We’re all walking each other home. And I think that resonates with me, because I used to see myself as here and now, look at everybody in the eyes.
Everybody suffers in their own way, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and especially cancer patients suffer. Like I went through all the stages where physical, mental, emotional, and I would just say just be patient with yourself. And that loving kindness is so essential, especially because I spent many seasons laying in the fetal position, you know, and nausea for nine months, is that I wish I just told myself, this too shall pass. It is so temporary.
When you're in it, you can't see it when you're in the fire. But the whole point is you just got to keep showing up. Take your breath by breath, and trust, trust that you're meant to be here. And especially when you become a survivor, I was broken for, you know, four or five years I just felt like a broken person that it takes time to put that back together. And you know, I think part of the healing begins when you start to see that you can seal every experience with gratitude. I know for myself; I speak at certain events with other patients and I'm a cancer patient advocate now and helping patients breathe through the pain instead.
I've learned that I'm grateful I got cancer. It has a stigma when I say it, but it's to say that most of us have an aha moment in life when we're maybe in hospice and we go, “Okay, this what life's about.” At 34, I have another chance to live the rest of my life with a consciousness that there's great purpose in the pain. There's, there's beauty in the brokenness, if we just learn to sit in it and understand that this is this cancer, this illness. It's part of your journey.