One of the things I hear the most from people when I tell them that I have cancer is “I’m sorry.” I’ve been reflecting on that statement a lot, and I had a really great conversation about this with my priest, Fr. Russell, a few weeks ago.
I get that cancer isn’t exactly the type of diagnosis that anyone wants in their whole lifetime, let alone just after they turned 30. While it is very scary news, and while many things about my diagnosis are uncertain, I’ve decided to take Fr. Russell’s (always excellent) advice and “struggle well.”
He told me that in Russia, instead of saying I’m sorry, people will tell someone with a new cancer diagnosis “thank you.” Thank you for struggling well. Thank you for fighting so that we can have more days with you. More experiences. More life.
Now, I’m not Russian, and I’ve never been to Russia, so I can’t verify that this is true, but I am certain that I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Up to this point, I’ve had a really excellent life and still do! I can only see one way through this, and that’s to be alive & well at the end of it!
I plan to wake up each day and choose to be optimistic and proactive. I plan to learn as much as I can so that in the end, I’ll be a better wife, daughter, friend, and practitioner. I plan to let myself feel crappy when I feel crappy, but to go out and enjoy the sun or good food when I feel good. I plan to nurture my relationships with others and my relationship with myself.
My goal is to motivate anyone reading this post to take a moment to look at your life in perspective. To nourish those things that are truly important to you whether that be your relationships, your career, your spirituality, whatever.
I hope that you’ll prioritize your health above many things. If we don’t have our health, then all the rest suffers too. Be proactive, not reactive! Eat delicious, whole foods. Move your body daily – go for a walk, lift weights, dance! De-stress with journaling, meditating, going out in nature, getting a massage. Get some sun. Practice gratitude. There’s always, always something to be grateful for.
If you have concerns about your health, don’t be afraid to speak up! Talk to your doctors, nurses, physical therapists (we are great listeners!) and ask them about anything that may seem off or that makes you worry. You know your body best and shouldn’t wait around for answers to come to you!
I wanted to thank everyone for such kind words, cards, gifts, and love sent my way! I am truly honored to walk this Earth with all of you ❤