Cancer, You Will Not Go Down Without A Fight

Cancer, You Will Not Go Down Without A Fight

There will always be a race to find a cure so that you will never ever exist in the future.
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Cancer. When people hear the word, people are angry that a disease can be so cruel and unpredictable. Some may raise their heads high because they fought the battle and won. Others may be sad or mourning the loss of a close friend or loved one that has lost the fight of this disgusting disease. The most common connotation is that it is an evil word. Millions of individuals are diagnosed with cancer each year and a million more family members and friends are affected. At some point in our lives, someone we know will be diagnosed with cancer

My first memory of someone being diagnosed with cancer was my mom's childhood friend. They were in the same classes in elementary school, they were in each other's weddings, they were there when their children were born. They grew up together. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She fought a long, hard fight until she lost that battle. I saw my mom go through the heartbreak that cancer causes people. I saw the pain she and so many other friends and family members had to cope with during this tragic loss of life.

The one that has affected me the most was my father's childhood friend. Not only was he a strong family man but was strong in the Christian faith. He was a healthy guy until one day he wasn't. I called my dad one night while I was at college. He told me the news that his best friend was diagnosed with cancer. My heart broke. How could someone so healthy and so active be crippled by this repulsive sickness? But he wasn't giving up that easily. He had the whole community rooting for him. However, he left a lot sooner than anyone expected. A lot sooner than any of us wanted him to.

This was the first time I felt like I had been directly hurt by cancer. To think that a month before he was diagnosed, he contacted me on Facebook Messenger during my first full week at college. He talked to my dad and heard how I was having a rough start in adjusting to college life and wanted to check in on me. He asked how I was doing and all I could do to alleviate my homesickness. That was the kind of guy he was. I messaged him for 30 minutes that night. He told me that the next time he was up in the Bloomington-Normal area, he would take me out for lunch. He never got the chance to do that. It has been a year since that conversation happened and so much has changed since then.

When I hear that someone has been diagnosed with cancer, I often feel helpless. What can I do to help them fight? I have participated in Relay for Life only once but that event changed my life. People come together to stay up all night and raise money for cancer research, to finally find a cure for this foul illness.

Cancer, you will not control those who have to fight you. You will not control those who support them in this tough fight. We will not let you take away those affected by you without a fight. Because no one fights alone. There will always be someone to support your victims. There will always be a race to find a cure so that you will never, ever exist in the future.

My mother's best friend has been gone for five years now and my dad's childhood friend would have celebrated his 50th birthday last week. To those who are still fighting the fight, you have my support and the support of so many others until you defeat this. Because no one fights alone.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Pellock

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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