Strong in Body or Soul?


Many cancer survivors are sad because the body has betrayed them. But remembering there is more to strength than just physicality can help cancer survivors.

I strongly suspect that many of us cancer survivors, if we are honest, envy those with excellent health. I have to admit, I look at people who are achieving a lot. You know who I mean. Their houses are always lovely, they entertain effortlessly (or seem to), they are respected in their work and they have a large circle of friends and manage to volunteer too. Just watching them wears you out.

I see the dirt in my home, look at my takeout food and cancel plans because I am too tired to move from the latest treatment. I try desperately not to be a little bit jealous. I truly do not wish ill for anyone else, just increased energy for myself. I know every single one of us carries our secret burdens and no one has it perfect, but some days I am just so exhausted.

Then I read a quote by Pythagoras. “Choose rather to be strong of soul than strong of body.”

Wow — read that again! With humility I think of my dearest and best friend, who became suddenly paralyzed over a dozen years ago, and has the strongest faith and most uplifting spirit of anyone I know. I have another friend who is battling two types of cancer, and has had several heart attacks. Her sense of humor and warrior attitude has prevailed through it all. I watch the cancer survivors in my hospital, who are part of the survivor to survivor program, who give back constantly to newly diagnosed patients. These are just a few of the valiant people I know and there are many others.

Which type of person inspires me and who have I learned the most from? The people with the perfect homes or the people who are fighting everyday for their lives yet giving to others.

Then I bring the thoughts back to me. Which would I rather be? Strong of body or strong of soul; Well — actually both. But if I were made to choose, strong of soul will definitely win.

So, my friends, whenever you get tired, see the cobwebs in the corner, want to bake homemade cookies, but do not have the stamina, just remember this. Every one of us cancer survivors is strong. We are warriors and we are strong of soul. And that is something to make us proud!

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