It’s our story. That’s all it is. I can get caught up in the sadness of how my story differs from normal life. Soon after my cancer treatments ended I was invited to my 20th high school reunion. I just couldn’t muster the energy to go and see all those people. I was struck with a sadness and the reminder that I also had cancer my senior year of high school and didn’t have a normal high school experience. Let’s face it. Important bonds happen in that last year before leaving for college. It really sucked that I was stuck in this cancer cycle, but time gives perspective. It is my story. It’s just different from others and not better or worse. I have amazing bonds. I had so many normal and fun experiences in college and ironically developed life-long relationships with people from my high school in the years post-graduation. It’s my story and it’s a good one.
I have spoken to many people in the last couple years that are going through diagnosis and treatments for cancer. Some are really stuck in this perpetual “why me” place. It’s very sad, because the longer we stay there the less time we spend out living life. We choose what part of our life to make the focus. I absolutely know how easy it is to get stuck and I do think it’s important to wallow there for a little bit because it’s part of our acknowledging and acceptance process. I had a very wise friend in college whom I learned many important life facts from. He would always say “acknowledge and move on”. It was somewhat annoying at the time because I like to talk things through, but at the end of the day it’s the only thing we can do. Acknowledge what is ours and keep moving forward. I have since added the words, self-love and kindness to his words of wisdom.
How do we propel ourselves forward? We need to have things in our lives that are more important than our own crappy stories (we all have them). I am such a believer that “thinking outside ourselves” is what is going to save us from ourselves. Living a full life means having things in your life that you care about. Many people are just getting by. Working, errands, cooking, cleaning, sleeping and doing it over again. I see why we get stuck. I’ve talked about having and developing tools to help you through the rough patches. I have written about tai chi, yoga and meditation, but I have also written about community and service to others. We are social animals and developing this part of us is going to help in so many ways. Lastly, spirituality and faith. This isn’t something that I have written about directly, but many times it’s the missing link to healing. There are many things we cannot explain, but if we can have faith and really feel that we are loved and that we are going to be ok no matter how our story is written, we can begin to heal.
In short, go out and explore more. Get involved in something outside of yourself. Find faith in a higher power that allows you to relinquish control and heal.