I was recently asked “what is an unexpected way that a cancer diagnosis has had an impact on your life?” As I have pondered and contemplated over that question here is what comes to my mind:
I never expected that losing many people to thyroid cancer would hit me so hard. I guess the main reason for that is because I’ve had that opportunity to get to know them and some very closely. Although, the majority of them I’ve never met in person as we have only communicated in online forums or on the phone, but yet I feel like I’ve known them my whole life. You get to know them and their families. That is the hard part, knowing the resulting effect of the loved ones that they leave behind. I am feeling this more and more as it seems we have lost so many in the last year and the numbers just keep on climbing. You always have that fear in the back of your mind, am I going to be the that next statistic?
The other reason is because I get to thinking well now who is going to be there and uplift me when I am facing more challenges that happen with this beastly enemy? I guess it makes me feel a little bit lost in a way and then thoughts start rolling in my head and then I start to question everything. Why do things happen the way they do? Why do people have to die from this disease and other tragic events? Sometimes in this life we will never know that answer and have to just go on faith and trust in the almighty, no matter how hard that is sometimes. This is a constant wrestle that I have with God and one day I will have that extended conversation with him face to face and get those answers, as will all of us.
Nevertheless, I am realizing now that it is up to those of us survivors who are left to keep the driving force going and to be the ones who are there to uplift and encourage everyone else and even more importantly to those newbies – those who are just now facing cancer and need that direction in understanding about this disease. Those that I have lost were my guiding light, because when I started this journey four and a half years ago it was as though I was flying blind, not knowing anything or where to turn. I have to say how truly grateful I am for those that were there for me and so now it is my turn to pay it forward and be someone else’s guiding light. Each and every person I have met along this journey has helped me in one way or another, whether it be the many doctors, nurses and other survivors; each of them have played such a crucial role in where I am today. I want to encourage my fellow survivors to do the same and to be the difference as you never know the impact you can make on someone else’s journey! I will continue to make it my life’s mission to be that difference! If I can make someone’s journey a little easier, I want to do that because someone did it for me!
In addition, as I have been facing losing people in my life over the last few years, I have been reminded that life can and will go on. If anyone has faced loss or heartbreak in their life perhaps the lyrics from this song can provide you some comfort. It is a song entitled “Tell you Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey and it has a powerful message that I want to share; I hope it helps you as it has helped me to have a better understanding about loss and that we can move beyond the bad things that happen in our life. I’ve also come to that realization that I’ve had to mourn that loss of a life that I once knew, the life before the cancer happened. Nevertheless, we can all come to an understanding that there is purpose even in our darkest moments as we face the many challenges in our lives.
Having cancer has helped me to truly understand what is important in life and that each moment is precious and something I’ve learned not to take for granted! Another great principle I’ve learned is to be sure to tell the people in your life how much they mean to you and that you love them, because you never know when that opportunity will come knocking again. No one wants to have regrets, so seize those opportunities when they come. We have to live life to the fullest extent possible, because tomorrow is never promised! I really like this quote and it speaks for itself:
When those opportunities arise to be the difference to someone else we need to grab it and run with it! You never know the impact and imprint you can have on someone else and something which I will always strive to accomplish, as I said before someone did it for me and I want to return the favor!! I want to end with this important quote on how one can make an impact. It doesn’t have to be something big and it’s those small little things that have the greatest impact. You can make a difference in the life of someone else, so be the one!!