I can remember the day that I was diagnosed like it was yesterday: How I lost my breath upon hearing the news over the phone by myself, my mind as it ran away with both constructive and destructive thoughts, and the words I spoke as I told Wes the news with tears streaming rapidly down my face.
I had so many questions and I remember the aching inside of me. I desired to talk to someone who had been through cancer already so I could discuss it candidly and honestly since they would understand cancer on a personal level. I had much to learn as these were new waters I found myself traversing.
Along the way, I have had the opportunity, really the privilege, to meet some incredible men and women who have also been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. I also had the blessing of learning more about cancer from family members, too.
They have so graciously, enthusiastically, and lovingly offered to share words of encouragement from their cancer journeys and beyond. Each one has inspired me in different ways and their messages are ones of help, hope, advocacy, honesty, and perspective:
We all pull inspiration from so many stories, why can’t yours be that miracle story that everyone uses for motivation to keep pushing? We are so much stronger than we honestly know.
Think positively (I always say this is the best treatment), but don’t hold back your true emotions. Cry when you want to cry and smile when you want to smile. God has his hand on you, and he is always 10 steps ahead of your journey. Trust him in the hardest times.
The serenity prayer was my constant affirmation throughout my almost 2 year treatment plan:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
During surgery and recovery, when it felt like my whole self became unknown to me, I repeated: I am limber, I am strong, I am healthy, I belong. Remember to pace yourself. Your body has been through tremendous trauma and it’s not going to heal overnight. Healing is a mind, body, and soul journey and every cancer survivor is beautiful.
Jessica Shrewsbury, Stage 2b Breast Cancer Survivor, Diagnosed at 37 years old
I’ve always believed when God blesses us, he has other people in mind. Each moment we are alive is a blessing, not only for us but for those around us. Having this kind of attitude keeps your mind focused on gratitude and gratitude equals happiness; no matter the circumstance.
One of my favorite quotes that I found was written in my late husband’s journal:
“It is better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.” -Josh Powell
Josh and I never let cancer steal our hopes, our dreams, our love, or our joy. We let it teach us how to live more fully and love more fiercely. I genuinely believe that nobody loses their battle to cancer if they continue to live fully despite their diagnosis. Choose resilience in the face of adversity. If I could give two pieces of advice it’s to NEVER give power to your cancer and travel as far as you need to in order to be treated by the best doctors who specialize in your specific type of cancer.
Fabi Powell, Basal Cell Carcinoma Survivor, 33 years old
Josh Powell, Synovial Sarcoma, Diagnosed at 25 years old, earned his wings at 27 years old
Website: Josh Powell Foundation
IG: @fabipowell and @joshpowellfoundation
I’ve been a cancer survivor for over 40 years now. You have to have faith, really, and you have to believe that you can beat this thing. I always figured I could beat it and be better for it. Believe in yourself and the man way upstairs. Take the bad with the good and the good with the bad. We are all going to get a little bit of both, you just have to be strong. You can do it.
(Grandma) June Copp, 94 years old, Breast Cancer Survivor
I can’t thank each one of these friends and my grandmother enough for sharing! I feel encouraged sitting here today reading and learning from each of you!
No matter what kind of cancer you have, stage of life you are in, or where you live, you are not alone in this journey and there are other who are here to uplift you along the way.
If you have any further questions for anyone who shared today, you can reach out to me and I can get you connected with them, or you can reach them directly through their social media/websites listed and hyperlinked above.
I hope this provided peace and direction for you from their words of wisdom, practical advice, and their dedication to advocating for cancer survivors like you and me.
You are worth it, there is hope, and your life has great purpose!
God bless you!
I hope you felt encouraged today. Which words resonated with you? If you are a cancer survivor and have words of wisdom and advice to share, we would love to hear from you, too! As always, please leave a comment or send me a message if you’d like prayer!