January 31, 2024

Today, I had an entirely different message to share with you, but this was put on my heart. I know this isn't my typical message on LinkedIn but I have to follow my heartHere it goes...

“YOU HAVE CANCER” are the 3 most feared words in multiple different languages. No one wants to hear them, however, it became my reality on October 8, 2009. That day is the birthday of my deceased sister, who happened to pass away from cancer ten years prior.

I couldn’t believe I was hearing those words from my doctor. However, I didn’t just hear those three words. I heard, “YOU HAVE“YOU HAVE CANCER and you don’t have a husband, yet, to support you through this. YOU HAVE CANCER and you don’t have your white picket fence and 2.5 kids. YOU HAVE CANCER and you really haven’t lived. YOU HAVE CANCER...and you may die." I was scared to death. I was scared of death.

You (or someone you know) may've had a similar experience.It seems the prevalence of cancer continues to rise each year...and it seems like there's more younger people being diagnosed with this ugly disease. In my personal life, I know four people who are currently in the battle for their lives. My heart goes out to them and anyone else who is affected by this ugly disease.

During his acceptance speech at the 2014 ESPYs, sportscaster Stuart Scott said, "Don't give up, don't ever give up...So, live. Live.Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you." I want you to know I am here to fight with you.

Surviving cancer afforded me the opportunity to course correct and get on the path that I was supposed to be on...in service to others.

In the words of the poet, Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some style and some humor.” Those are her words, yet, it is my life. That is my mission...to thrive and help others thrive, too.

You may be wondering how do we thrive when we’re facing a crisis in our lives?

Here are five (5) strategies to help get you through challenging times.

  1. Choose faith over fear. Don’t operate from a place of fear. Fear can be paralyzing if you let it control your life. Connect to a higher Source and trust all will be fine.
  2. Have a positive mindset. Take control of your thoughts. Focus on positive things and don’t allow yourself to give too much attention to things that don’t serve you. TURN OFF THE NEWS. It will suck you back into the negative thoughts.
  3. Be present. Pay attention to the PRESENT moment. Matthew 6:34 says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Don’t get lost in worrying about things to come or things we can't control. In this moment, BE WELL.
  4. Self-isolate. The flu, RSV and COVID are still out there wreaking havoc on people. It's best to isolate yourself as much as possible. All these viruses are very contagious and can be extremely harmful to those with a compromised immune system.
  5. Escape from reality. Be intentional about finding distractions. Find things that are joyful. Read books. Watch some light-hearted movies or comedies. Assemble puzzles. Connect with family and friends. Listen to music. Meditate.

If you know me personally, then you know I care deeply about people. In the words on one of my favorite TV characters, Monk, “It’s a gift and a curse.” I’m concerned about you. I want you to know you are alone. I see you. I hear you. I understand how you’re feeling.

I want to share some words from a card that helped me when I went through my cancer journeys (yes, plural 😩). It says:

With God, every day is a day to begin again — to trust and feel His love for us and know that in all of the confusion, there’s a gift to be found.

In all of this confusion, in all of this mess, there's a gift to be found. I don’t know what it is for you but know who you are becoming in this process will be a greater gift to this world.

I send you well wishes in your journey. I wish you courage to persevere, strength when you feel weary, peace of mind to calm your spirit, and love to see you through these challenging times.

If you need someone to talk to, I'm here. Remember, your best is yet to come.