I have found many stories of people who have either survived cancer and other life threatening diseases against all the odds or who have been able to enrich their own and others lives incredibly after getting ill. These have helped me to stay hopeful or regain a positive outlook and feel less alone in my own journey since diagnosis.
Many of these inspirational anecdotes can be found in some of the books listed in the bookstore - Getting Well Again, Self Healing and Love, Medicine and Miracles. Others have come from magazines, papers, TV, and word of mouth.
Remember that often the survivors stories don’t get much press as its mostly bad news that seems to get highlighted. There have been many famous people who have got cancer and recovered.
One who particularly inspires me is Lance Armstrong, who was diagnosed with cancer and had a poor prognosis, yet here he is winning the Tour de France cycle race so many times! He has published a couple of books. I have only read one, which I found both very moving and incredibly encouraging. Well worth a read. He has so much determination in the face of such great odds both in his career and his health. I am very impressed with the way he has worked to help others with cancer by setting up the Lance Armstrong Foundation in the USA.
Another story from my local paper told of a woman now in her nineties who had breast cancer when she was a much younger woman with children at home. Treatment was pretty basic then and she had an operation followed by radiotherapy. She looked remarkably healthy and radiant in her picture now.
So this is a space for you to share poems, stories, fun, basically anything that you find inspirational.
One that I heard from my yoga teacher and makes me smile.
“Remember that the sky is always blue wherever you are. It’s only the clouds that get in the way sometimes”.
“The love of life is necessary to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking” Dr. Samuel Johnson.
“The great essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for” Joseph Addison
“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother” “One may not reach the dawn save by the path of night”
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” Helen Keller
“Be realistic - plan for a miracle” Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Jane in Ironman challenge triumph 2004
Someone who has really inspired me is Jane Tomlinson. Although dying of cancer, Jane Tomlinson has broken a world record, becoming the first terminally-ill person to complete the full Ironman triathlon in Florida.
The 17-hour challenge involves swimming two miles, completing a 112-mile bike ride and running a full marathon.
The 40-year-old mother-of-three, from Rothwell, Leeds, took on the challenge despite a stay in hospital last week.
Mrs Tomlinson completed the event, which started at 7am and ended at 11pm Florida time, in 15 hours 47 minutes.
As she left for the first part of the event, Mrs Tomlinson said she felt sick with nerves.
But she now has the satisfaction of going down in the history books as the first terminally-ill person to complete - or even attempt - such a challenge.
Mrs Tomlinson has already cycled from Rome to Leeds, completed three London marathons, three London triathlons and two half-Ironman triathlons to raise money for her cancer charities.
She says this will be her last challenge.
"The training and races put a huge strain on her body constantly, leaving her in agony. Yet she still has to get to work daily and take annual leave to do the events."
See the full story from BBC NEWS
For more info. go to www.janesappeal.com
Somebody who inspires me is my “chemo comrade”, Joyce. She was diagnosed over 2 years ago with Ovarian cancer and was told she had 6 months to live. Of course this is a terrible thing to tell someone as it can mean we accept what is an opinion as a fact and give up hope. Without hope what have we got?
Anyway Joyce has proved them wrong and although now on her second round of chemotherapy, she is full of life and has just enjoyed a cruise around the Mediterranean.
She certainly brightens up my time in The Christie with her lovely, open manner and her infectious giggle.
A Letter from America.
My friend Sally lives life to the full. We often walk together a few miles around the lake in Virginia USA where we live. Sometimes I have a job to keep up with her. She does an exercise program at Curves Gym several times a week and she is a picture of rosy-cheeked health. Recently she organised a concert for eighty guests in her home and she is an avid theatre buff. She has always got something interesting to say. Last year she travelled to Hawaii and to the Dominican Republic. She has just invited me and my husband for dinner tonight on the spur of the moment.
One of the kindest and most warm hearted people I have ever known, she has been a constant source of support and joy to me since I moved to America.
It is not easy to remember that she has recovered from cancer not once but twice in her life. As a young woman she was treated successfully for skin cancer which had been caused by the medication she was prescribed for acne. After radiation treatment, which was primitive in those days, she got on with her life with courage and energy. She went to Japan where she worked as a teacher for several years.
Then she lived in Germany and travelled all over Europe. That was before she married David and they lived happily ever after. There was a blot on their landscape of happiness in 1991 when Sally felt unwell. It took six difficult months and a change of doctors to get her diagnosis of uterine cancer. She had a hysterectomy and then radiation treatment again. It must have been a hard time but when I asked about that Sally replied, “Well my story is not much to tell.” Her philosophy has always been to do the best she can in terms of getting good medical treatment and also in her life style.
She rests when she needs to and she seeks out activities and people that help her to feel good. When she is satisfied that she has done her part she hopes for a good outcome and tries not to worry. That is not to say that she is super woman or that she is never fearful, sad or angry. She suffers all the trials and tribulations of normal life and she has a full range of feelings. Sally will be 80 this year. I admire her enormously. Let her be an inspiration to us all!
From Ki Harley Roberts, Virginia, USA January 2005
I once taught Transactional Analysis to a delightful young woman. She had cancer when she started the course. I think she knew that she wasn’t going to get better. I don’t think that any of us in the group with her realised (or maybe wanted to know) how ill she was. Anyway she achieved her goal to learn some TA and she attended almost all the weekends until she was really too ill to get there anymore. I certainly learnt a lot (as did the rest of the group)from her in the year she was with us. Her courage, honesty, vitality and humour were infectious. Helen you deserve a place on this page girl!
Here is part of a poem sent to me by a friend that made me smile.
I’d pick more daisies by Nadine Stair, 87, Louiseville, USA.
If I had my life to live over, I’d try to make less mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones. ...........If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play hooky more, I wouldn’t make such good grades except by accident. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies.
Affirmations for living.
Make them short and sweet
Always positively worded
Stay in the present tense
Say them twice to let them sink in
Everyday in every way I am getting better and better.
I feel stronger with every moment that passes.
There is no limit to how good I can feel.
I look well, I feel well, I am well.
The doctors are amazed at my progress.
This treatment is totally successful and feels comfortable.
Everything is healed as it should.
When I wake up I will feel totally refreshed, energised and well.
my body is itself healing itself completely.
I am in full remission.
I love myself.
I am loved.
My cells form perfectly.
I love my body.
I am loving and forgiving.
Life is a miracle. My cells are miracles.
I am calm and peaceful.
What Cancer Cannot Do (submitted by a Beechwood Cancer Care Volunteer)
Cancer is so limited.......
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot conquer the spirit
It cannot steal eternal life
In honour of women's history month and in memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer. Pass this on to five women that you want watched over. If you don't know five women to pass this on to, one will do just fine.
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in Storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realised that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's."
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it .. live it .and never give it back. Stop sweating the small stuff.
Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.
Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally. I hope you all have a blessed day.
Beautiful Women's Month
Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.
Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.
Age 15: She looks at herself and sees an Ugly Sister (Mum I can't go to school looking like this!)
Age 20: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"- but decides she's going out anyway.
Age 30: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly" - but decides she doesn't have time to fix it, so she's going out anyway.
Age 40: She looks at herself and sees "clean" and goes out anyway.
Age 50: She looks at herself and sees "I am" and goes wherever she wants to go.
Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.
Age 70: She looks at herself & sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.
Age 80: Doesn't bother to look. Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.
Send this on to all the women you are grateful to have as friends.
Maybe we should all grab that purple hat earlier. Please send this to five phenomenal women today in celebration of Beautiful Women's Month. If you do, something good will happen: you will boost another woman's self esteem.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
as everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
when they might have won had they stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
and you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!