If you would have asked me as a young girl what I was going to be when I grew up, "cancer survivor" would have never come out of my mouth.
However, I have always had an interest in the field of helping others. For most of my childhood I wanted to be a counselor, but grew to realize I was way too soft-hearted. Then I wanted to be a nurse, but I really didn't want to handle needles. Eventually, my heart became set on chiropractic and the career path has stuck with me ever since. While that desire still remains, this journey has shown me that what I'd been longing for in my future wasn't necessarily a specific career path, but for a God-given purpose in my life. The very LAST place I ever expected to find that purpose or "calling" was through a diagnosis of cancer. Little did I know, it would reveal a part of me that I didn't even know was missing.
When I say this journey has been a gift, it's not like the shiny present all neatly wrapped with a giant bow on top. It's more like something you get from your grandmother that you don't really see the meaning in at first. In fact you're a little pissed off you didn't just get what you asked for, but over time and as it ages - its meaning and purpose is slowly revealed. You learn to admire its priceless beauty and realize that even though it isn't what you asked for, it is exactly what you needed.
I was titled "cancer free" on March 23, 2015. I can honestly say it has not been an easy down hill slope. There has been struggle and there has been hurt, but reflecting on the past year has me wanting to focus on the beauty that has come about in the midst of the pain. This journey has revealed God’s purpose for my life that I didn't even know I was longing to find. I have a brand new, deeply rooted passion for the human body’s ability to heal itself given the right environment and I’ve been eager to share that experience with others ever since.
I have thought about this special milestone for over 365 days. I’ve been thinking about what this post would contain and what this personal holiday would consist of. The difficult, yet beautiful, thing is that it isn’t like Christmas or Easter or even a birthday where there are established norms of celebration. There aren’t any certain foods to eat, songs to sing, or themed decorations to purchase for someone’s “one year cancer free.” So I guess it’s up to me to create the meaning of this day for myself.
My family and my friends have asked how I want to celebrate this day and I have had no answer up until last night, when I really just sat and thought about it and it made me realize - I don’t need confetti, cake, or balloons. Just as Christmas isn’t about the gifts and Easter isn’t about eggs or a man in a giant bunny suit... this celebration is not about ME, this is not MY glory. It is not about another year of living life for MY wants, but for the precious ability to live for HIM. It is about the decision I made over a year ago to surrender my own will and my plans for life in exchange for His, regardless of where they would take me.
I want to celebrate this day by extending thanks to all of those who have helped lift me up and support me along the way – either emotionally, spiritually, physically, or monetarily. No words could ever communicate my depths of gratitude for your kindness.
I want to celebratethose whom I’ve met in this past year, specifically those with cancer who have either won their battle to live eternal life with the Lord or who continue to fight with grace and positivity.
I want to celebratethe ability to give back, the ability to be a light for others, and also the ability to share my story.
They say God often uses our deepest pain to launch our greatest calling and I now know that to be true.
The relationships formed have exceeded those that have broken.
The wounds healed have exceeded those that still scar.
The grace given has exceeded the grief.
The strength has exceeded the sorrow.
The new has exceeded the old.
His purpose has exceeded my own.
For that, I am eternally grateful. I look forward to sharing with you what the next 365 days holds. I can already guarantee that each one will be cherished.
Some of my favorite moments from the past year: