One of my favorite Disney movies is the Lion King. I’ve loved it since it came out in the 90s. The music, the scenery and characters just made it great. Admittedly I may cry when Mufasa dies every time watching the movie but I still love it.
One of my favorite characters in the movie is Rafiki. Eccentric but full of advice, the wise baboon tells Simba, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” This is such a great quote.
As I’ve said multiple times, I initially did not want to share that I had cancer. It’s hard to open up about such a difficult diagnosis. But as I’ve come to learn on this cancer journey, cancer is now part of who I am. I wish it wasn’t, but it is and I can learn and grow from it.
Cancer has taught me to appreciate life and the small things so much more. I don’t take anything for granted and try to enjoy being in the moment and spending time with my family.
Cancer has taught me to focus on what really matters and not get caught up in things that aren’t important. I’ve learned to focus on my health and what I can control.
I’ve learned to let go of what I can’t control. I couldn’t control that I got cancer or what treatments I needed, but I learned to trust my medical team and their expertise which I am very fortunate has led to successful treatment.
I’ve learned as Simba says in The Lion King: “As you go through life you will see there is so much we don’t understand. And the only thing we know is that things don’t go as planned.” My cancer diagnosis was unexpected and seemingly came out of nowhere. We grow as we adjust to whatever life throws at us. I learned that even though this is the last thing I ever wanted, I had to accept that I have cancer and do whatever I needed to do to kick this cancer’s ass.
On my last day of chemo one of my good friends decorated the front of my house with last day of chemo signs and a breast cancer banner. The signs came down but we have kept the banner up. At first I thought oh no everyone in the neighborhood will now know I have cancer (as if the loss of my hair wasn’t a clue). But then I realized that’s ok. I am stronger because of this experience and I want people to know that this is a part of me.
Not everything in life is sunshine and rainbows. There are a lot of twists and turns to navigate through. But it’s the hard times and challenges that I believe truly define us. They make us stronger.
I’ve had to work hard my whole life to have success and that has led me to be grateful things were never handed to me and that I never had it easy. I developed a strong work ethic because of this.
The loss of my mother to cancer seven years ago was devastating and something I still struggle at times to process. But I can’t hide this loss. It’s made me a stronger parent and person, having to learn more on my own without her help.
Even though we had three children already, suffering a miscarriage was extremely difficult. It made me appreciate the healthy kids I have even more and I was even more grateful for my two subsequent pregnancies and children.
Life is not easy and running from it seems like the easier choice as Simba initially did following the death of his father. But as Simba learned and I have learned, you can not run from the past. Simba learned from his past and I believe I have learned from mine, as difficult as it is to deal with.
One reason I have been open about my cancer battle is to inform others about what it is like to go through. But I also want to be open about my battle because the cancer is now a part of me. Not just because I live in fear of my health and a recurrence, but because it has changed me.
I’ve learned and grown through this disease. I can’t run from the past, but I can learn from it. All the challenges I have been through have helped to make me the person I am today. I will always remember who I am.
#lionking #mufasa #simba #rememberwhoyouare #breastcancerbattle #breastcancersurvivor #lifewithcancer #onetoughmother