Jessica, Canada

All stories

The 5 F's against Cancer - My story 

My letter to cancer after my diagnosis on Dec 10th 2014.

Dear stranger, 

We just met but you're so damn familiar. It's funny that you came across my way in such a messy period. Suddenly, you made everything else look so simple. In seconds, you awakened in me a strength I had spent years searching for. You seem so powerful and yet, so irrelevant. You challenge me every minute of every day and yet, I don't feel your presence. Tell me, what do you know about me? Actually, whatever you know is limited to the distance between us and will remain this way. 

I, however, might not know all your secrets but I know some of them. You can always be unpredictable but I will always try to take a good guess. You have your weapons, I have my army. I am also not sure you have friends, because it's so boring and unpleasant to be around you. So I’m strongly sticking to mine. They'll keep me company better. 

I always believed that everything happens for a reason and I guess there's actually a reason we met around Christmas time. Luckily for me, you ignored the power of this holy season. 
It's the time of the year when we all pray for peace, health and happiness. It's the time when people get together, broken hearts get healed, lost souls get found, and joy touches every desperate soul. It's the time of selflessness and love. The time to replace bad habits with good ones. The time for fresh starts and new beginnings. The time for second chances, because everyone deserves one. It's the time of the year when miracles can happen, when miracles do happen. 

To sum it up and make it easier, it's simply not your time. So I’m adding you to my NYE resolutions. 

I have to admit that New Year’s resolutions are always hard to achieve. We start hopeful then get weak along the way. So I know you won't be any different. I just hope I will be. I want to. And this is a reminder for me to keep trying whenever I decide to let go, just in case. Who knows, maybe for once I won't keep on dragging new resolutions through years. Only time will tell. 

But no matter what, 2015 will definitely be different.

A daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a student, a believer, a dreamer, me.

I was 23 years old when I got that phone call one late afternoon in the school hall announcing to me that I'm sharing my body with a stranger. 

But I knew it way before. I still remember the day I entered the emergency room, telling the doctor that I have a feeling I have colon cancer and asked for a colonoscopy. He laughed at me, and said I was too young. And we entered that room together, the camera inside of me, and that's when I met that stranger for the first time. 

Receiving the diagnosis alone was one thing, I was out of town and had to call my parents to announce it. That feeling was way worse than the diagnosis itself because cancer touches everyone around us. 

I am an anxious person and I had prayed for something to change my life. From that emergency room and way before I received my results, I promised myself to start living. I had realised I am not afraid of cancer taking away my life, because I haven't been honoring my life. So I took my bucket list and stopped postponing. 

Today, I celebrate a year of remission and this is my recipe:

1- Family
I Can Love: Surround yourself with your loved ones. Allow them to take care of you, listen to them, spend time with them doing things you love. Sit all together and gather all the positive energy around you. Speak up about your fears, they're here to listen. 

2 - Friends 
I Can Ask For Support: I didn't miss any opportunity to go out, see my friends and enjoy my time. They were the shoulder I could cry on when I wanted to be strong for my parents and tell them everything will be okay. I was the patient yes, but it might be easier for us to accept it than for them. 

3 - Faith
It doesn't matter what God you believe in or what your religion is - have faith and pray. Increasing spirituality brought me inner peace and strength. 

4 - Fight
I refused to give up. I wanted to continue my classes as a pharmacy student. Also, to win against your enemy you need to get to know him. So I did. I started educating myself more about colon cancer so I could understand what the doctors were telling me. So I could participate in my treatment and make better decisions. Ask questions, think with them, rather than just accepting what cancer is deciding for me. So read. Read not to stress, but to know better, to fight better.

5 - Fun
I started to think about myself and what makes me happy. I started Mandala art therapy, took some time for myself and for my personal growth. I wanted to experience new things. The joy and the positive energy this brought me helped me fight that stranger away and win my battle. 

It's a long way and it's not an easy road, but We can. I can.