I am thankful for a cancer diagnosis.
Hope your Thanksgiving was a great time to connect with family and friends and recount why you are thankful.
I am thankful that on March 9th, 2010 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma.
Does it sound strange that I am so thankful for receiving a stage 4 cancer diagnosis?
It may, but it’s true.
Right from the beginning God worked in my heart to see cancer as a blessing and not a curse.
The months following that diagnosis were filled with fears, anxieties but HOPE always won out.
His promised always proved true.
Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned.
With only God’s help I was able to see a cancer diagnosis as a way to grow in my faith, allow God to love on me and choose to not complain or say, “why me?” Instead He showed me the blessing of time home with family, new thoughts about health and wellness and the opportunities and people he would put in my path because of that diagnosis. I had to trust His thoughts and ways were higher than mine.
2. Pain into Purpose.
I learned God can take what seems painful and difficult and birth a new passion inside of me! I chose nursing as a profession because I wanted to help people. God took this calling, this desire and transformed HOW he wanted me to help people. For years I worked in a local ER. I saw repeat patients for Heart problems, Diabetic issues, and chronic pain, just to name a few. In the busyness of an ER setting I was only able to have short conversations and do multi-task measures to provide a “quick fix” to their problems. I wasn’t able to give them the tools they needed to produce lasting results and PREVENT their return. I had a desire in my heart to do MORE for them, but it just was not possible in that setting. Having cancer forced me to come home..and opened the door to a new world. I encountered a deeper understanding of true health and wellness, natural approaches to treatments and prevention. I had TIME again to build relationships and look at the WHOLE person which included nutrition, lifestyle choices, mindsets, thoughts and how people view themselves. What a blessing that God used MY PAINful (at the time) diagnosis to give me a deeper passion for people and their health (body, mind and spirit)
3. It may be HARD but it’s worth it.
I struggled with anxiety and it forced me to pray, speak scripture out loud, look for natural alternatives. I ate healthful foods even when they tasted like sand or dirt. I got out and exercised even if it meant making it only 20 ft to the mailbox or one trip around the block. I prayed when I felt helpless. I choose to trust (God, my doctor, my dietitian). I had to work hard (and still do) every day to make choices that promote health and life.
4. TRUST the process.
Whether it was regaining health back, building my health and wellness business or raising teenagers, I learned to TRUST the process. Things don’t always happen over night but I knew if I gave up then I would never get closer to the dream, the goals, the desires God placed in my heart. I am still learning to trust the process. Things that seem impossible or times I feel like I have failed are not the end of the story, they are only part of it. It would take me back to ask myself, “what is my perspective?” Do I see this circumstance or obstacle as negative or will I choose to look at what I could learn? How will I let it grow me? Am I putting my faith in me or GOD? Am I looking at my limited ability or HIS UNLIMITED power? I learned to celebrate it ALL, the good, the bad and the ugly. I remembered it’s a process and it’s all good, when I choose to see it that way.
This last point is one of my favorites! It is what God uses to remind me when I feel like giving up to keep going back to. God has called me to the business that I am in, Health Coaching. He has asked me to Inspire others to Healthy, Happy, Hopeful living. So why the name Joseph? Do you know the story of Joseph in the bible? You can find it starting in Genesis 37. My weak summary is.. Lots of bad things happened to Joseph, he remained faithful to trust God and chose to have a perspective that rose above his circumstances. God used his struggles and his faithfulness to save his family. My favorite verse in the story is Genesis 50:20 that roughly says, What was meant for evil, God meant for good! That is how I see that Stage 4 Cancer diagnosis. It may have been meant for evil but GOD meant it for GOOD! It has steered how I live and what choices I make personally.
It has also been the fuel for my desire to help everyone I can live a more healthful life. I feel God allowed me to go before you to experience what I did, learn what I did so I can be a blessing to you. For those times when it feels overwhelming… I’ve learned to break it down into small, simple, consistent steps. For the times health seems confusing, I have some clarity. When you don’t know where to start, I have some first steps. Maybe even when it seems impossible, I offer you hope!
This Thanksgiving, I have been able to reflect on what I am thankful for, where I have been and what God has brought me through. I have also been able to look to what lies ahead and be thankful for people God will bring into my path to help, the opportunities He will provide for me to make a difference, and yet through it all the times He will bring me into more dependence on Him for help, personally and professionally.
My passion, my desire is for you to experience a healthy, happy, hopeful life. Yet I know that no matter how much I want something for you, I can’t make it just “happen” for you. It requires you have trust. It requires you take a step out in faith.
Have you ever bought your child or someone you love a surprise gift? (well of course you have!) What does that feel like for you? I know I am so excited.. I can’t wait to give it.. I want to see them open it, experience it and enjoy it for a long time to come.
That is how I feel about you. I’m excited to give what I have learned, what I know and share it with you. It’s up to you to reach out and take a hold of it, unwrap it, and see what is inside?
A little too poetic or dramatic you think? It’s serious to me because I know. I know what it is like to think you have your health under contol and think you are making healthy choices and then find out you had it all wrong. I know what it is like to be diagnosed with a disease that is said to have NO CURE only treatment. I know what it is like to look at your 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son and tell them your diagnosis and try to answer their questions like, Will you die mommy? I know what it’s like to to have chest pains and a racing heart in the middle of the night and wild scary thoughts running through your head. I know what it is like to allow stress to rule my life….yet…
I also know of HOPE. I know that 60-90% of all disease and chronic health problems are PREVENTABLE!
That’s the exciting part. HOPE!
So whether you are struggling with no energy, being overweight, joint pain, your kids are sick all the time or you just want to do what you can to stay as healthy as possible….
I’m inviting you to reach out to me today.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and receive your first step free!
Either way, whether you reach out or not… I am praying for you.
I pray that you are inspired to take steps toward living a healthy, happy, hopeful life!
Here’s To Your Health,