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A Cancer Survivor’s Lesson
by Emily Land
Cancer, as unimaginably hard as it is, can do more good than harm. It can strengthen, bond, heal and focus your life and those around you.
Even though I’ve always said I would never fight again, I would if I had to because I know I can. It gave me more strength than it took away.
Editor’s note: Ciera lost her battle with cancer in October 2015.
Christina Aguilera’s song “Fighter” is probably about a boy for most people. For me, it is powerful in ways beyond the lyrics. Every survivor should listen to it and really hear it.
Editor’s note: Karizma passed away in July 2014.
Sometimes, more often than you think, it’s OK to say, “This is not a big deal,” and let go. There is peace in perspective.
Cancer exposes you at your weakest, even if you’re the only one who sees it. But once it’s out there, the foundation for who you are becomes the strongest you’ve ever been.
Faith is part of the flight. Whether it’s faith in the doctors, the medicine, the research, a higher power, or just yourself, it is a necessary component. Find it.
Coffee smells beyond horrible without nose hairs, and cayenne pepper isn’t the least bit spicy without freshly regenerated taste buds. Oh, and yes, your eyebrows are actually functional–an often overlooked oddity of the human body until you don’t have any.
Something still feels right and refreshing about shampooing and conditioning a bald head when everything else in your world feels wrong and out of place.
People are often in awe of survivors, and it is a badge that we carry with immense pride, but being undetectable as a survivor for the first time in a sea of normality is oftentimes our proudest moment. We are not our cancer, but we are what it made us. Please see us for who we are, not who we were.
When it comes to life and the essence of the human cycle, you only get to go around once. But, if you do it right, once is enough. Don’t just exist. Live.
Abridged from Promise, Autumn 2013
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About Promise magazine - Autumn 2013 - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital