Moving On

When I first heard those words Stage 4 cancer, I thought that was a death sentence, but yet here it is three years later and I am still alive and kicking. My success in being able to survive this thus far is really owed to the skill and talents of my brilliant surgeons, endocrinologists and other medical professionals who have provided the needed encouragement for me to drive on. My fellow ThyCa warriors have also been there as well cheering me on and helping me to know that just because you have a Stage 4 cancer that it is NOT the end and that we continue to live our lives no differently, other than we cherish each breath we take and consider it a privilege to do so.

Having cancer has been the worst, best thing that has ever happened to me. Is that really possible to have something so bad happen, but yet so good at the same time? I have learned so many valuable life lessons along the way throughout this journey about having true courage, strength, hope and faith during this trial of my life. Now, I can say that I look at life in a much different light. I don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t let trivial things bother me so much anymore; I let things come as they may and I am no longer afraid of the uncertainties that lie ahead of me. Instead, I focus on what truly matters to me, the important people in my life, my wonderful family and friends who have been there to support me as I have waged through this battle. What is important and I have to remind myself is to live in the moment and not focus on the, what if scenarios that often play in my head. The key is to appreciate the moments we are given. This makes me think of another favorite quote of mine:

surrender

I have shared a few quotes throughout my story and it helps me in dealing with and understanding life and what I have experienced throughout this cancer journey. Life is all about gaining the right perspective and persevering despite the trials that we each have to go through in life. Some experiences are good, while others really test us to see what we are truly capable of. It is about believing in yourself that you can overcome obstacles that come your way. I hope that others who are going through challenging times can know that one is NEVER alone in any battle that we encounter. There is always someone who has been where you are and knows what you are going through as they have been there and done that. It is by sharing our stories and our life experiences that we can lift and support one another and I hope that I have accomplished that. I will continue to share my story so others know they are not alone in this war against cancer and in other battles we face each and every day.

Courage & Strength

I have endured a lot throughout this journey and I have a favorite quote that I would like to share about having courage:

Courage

Despite the circumstances that I have had to face with this cancer, I have been able to discover that I have much more courage than I thought possible and have picked myself up in spite of it all. No matter what problems and challenges that we encounter in life it is by facing our fears that we truly gain the courage to move forward. When life knocks you down the important thing is to make that choice to get back up and move on.

For those who are just starting on your journey, it is one that will no doubt present many challenges to you which will test your courage, strength and faith. Just know that there are others out there who have been there and done that and that you have support systems out there to help you along the way. You just need to reach out and find them or in some cases they find you! This journey has really helped me to realize that if I can face this cancer with the courage and determination that I have experienced, I can conquer and overcome anything with the right frame of mind. I know that there is nothing that I can’t accomplish. It really is all about attitude and how you approach it; however, it can drag you down to places you thought you would never find yourself, if you allow it. I can attest to that I am grateful that I have had people placed in my path to rescue and save me, mostly from myself.

Cancer does suck, but together we are stronger and we will not let cancer win. I refuse to allow this cancer to define me. The scar on my neck is a battle scar that I feel has been earned and one that I wear with pride. Some survivors that I have talked with bring up the question of whether or not to cover their scar; some have and some haven’t. I have never tried to cover that scar, even though mine is barely visible now, but that is because of the talented surgeons I’ve had. I know it is there and it is a reminder of what I have been through and experienced. I know that I am going to be ok; I am a fighter and know that I will come swinging out on top.

There is a plaque that I have in a few rooms in my home which states the following about cancer and I want to include this in my story. I have them on my walls as a daily reminder to me of what cancer CANNOT do to me:

What cancer cannot do

— Anonymous

When life gets tough some people may pull within themselves. However, I want to rise above and take the higher road and not allow those negative thoughts and emotions to drag me down, and why staying positive throughout this fight is key. I am so grateful that I’ve had people in my life to assist me in learning this principle. There is great power in positive thinking!

Writing this blog has almost been another journey in itself as I have expressed my thoughts and feelings about my experiences in dealing and living with this cancer. Being able to live with a Stage 4 cancer which still remains inside my body has been difficult to deal with. I had felt my faith being shaken and had so many doubts on whether or not I was going to survive this. Nevertheless, I have learned to accept the hand which has been dealt to me. It is something that took me a very long time to come to terms with and accept, but I have finally reached that point. This really could have crippled me if I allowed it to and I have seen that happen to many others and truly not a place I want to find myself; however, as I have stated before it really is all about the attitude in which one takes. When I adjusted the way that I looked at my situation and changed my attitude, my outlook on life changed for the better and grateful that I have had people in my life to help me to recognize this.

Moreover, as bad as being diagnosed and living with cancer is, this is an experience that I would not trade for anything in the world. I have learned a lot about life and have learned so much about myself that I probably wouldn’t have known otherwise and it has refined me to become a better person. Perhaps that is the reason or purpose on why I have had to endure this cancer experience. Difficulties or challenges in our life can be but a small bump in the road that can give us experience for our own good and something we can learn from.