How To Beat Cancer's Ass

My Family Beat Cancer's Ass

The strongest people I know are two people I grew up with.

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Cancer is something everyone in the world has heard about. Not only is it a life-threatening disease, having affected 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths worldwide in 2015, but it's also something very difficult and expensive to treat. According to the National Cancer Institute, the expenditures used to treat cancer in 2017 costed an estimate of $147.3 billion. Because of cancer, many families become heartbroken, terrified of what will happen to their loved ones, and face financial crisis.

Cancer sadly affects every family, but the deadly disease hits home for me due to my grandmother and step-sister being survivors. For this article, I asked them a series of questions in order to show their stories and share their inspiration throughout the internet, in hopes to help people who are in similar situations.

My grandmother, Robbie, was first diagnosed with Melanoma in 2006 due to sun damage. Afterward, she was diagnosed again in 2012 and for a third time in 2015. In order to treat this aggressive cancer, she had to go through chemotherapy, prescriptions of Opdivo, as well as prescriptions of Yervoy.

After years of fighting the monster we call cancer, she has been announced cancer free and now takes extra precaution whenever it comes to going into the sunlight. She wears long sleeves, pants, hats, etc to ensure she's protected and to ensure she stays cancer free.

Since being diagnosed, she has learned that "you can't give up because you've been told you have cancer. You have to be a fighter". She also learned that you definitely need your family right with you, and with being cancer free you learn to live your life one day at a time. "Live it as if today is the last. First, you thank God for the healings and all the prayers".

My step-sister, Mikell, was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis on May 26th, 2015, just days after graduating high school. Upon being diagnosed, she was told she had "most likely had it her entire life because the tumor was the size of her fist". She had brain surgery to remove part of the tumor, and after that, she began simple radiation for a few weeks. Upon the new treatment, she discovered that instead of shrinking the tumor, it caused it to grow. Therefore, another surgery was needed.

During her second brain surgery, they tried "gamma knife" radiation in order to stop the tumor.

Besides her two brain surgeries, she has had a shunt implanted into her head to drain fluid off of her brain and into her stomach, she has had an implant put in behind her vocal cord to keep her from choking on food, and she's also had a very large tumor removed from her upper spine.

Neurofibromatosis changed Mikell's life forever. She wasn't able to go straight into college as she planned, and she became blind in one eye due to the brain tumor. Before the tumor, she had hearing problems, but now she has to wear a hearing aid.

Mikell states her insecurities by saying, "I'm not able to just do whatever I want because of my walking and the fact I can still get choked on food easily, my smile gets to me the most. It's brought my self-confidence down a whole lot".

But she also spoke about the positive things. She said, "It's taught me to really appreciate the small things in life to a new extent. People don't realize how the simple things such as eating, walking, and basic daily things are needed so much until it's gone. I've learned just how far I can really push myself. Some days [in rehab for therapy] were so stressful".

She explains how it also strengthened her relationship with her fiance and taught her the true meaning of love.

There are many negative things that cancer does to a family, but one thing it does is strenghten them and show them hope. I'm beyond proud to know these two strong women and by knowing their struggles I am beyond grateful for everything I am able to do.

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15 Reasons Your Grandpa Might Be The Greatest Person In Your Life

He loves you so much.
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Grandpa. The goofy old guy who has been with you since you were born.

Maybe he lives close or maybe he lives far. Maybe he's quiet and reserved or maybe he's a complete goofball. Maybe you see him all the time or maybe he's up there watching over you. No matter the circumstance, it is important to realize that he's probably one of the best people in your life.

1. He's hilarious

Nobody can make you laugh harder than grandpa. Whether it's a hot take on a sports game or a great story, he's always there to make you crack up.

2. He's smart (and knows more than you've ever known in your lifetime)

You think you know a lot... And then you talk to grandpa. I'm telling you, this man knows everything you know times a million.

3. He raised your mom or your dad well

You may have some pretty incredible parents... Well, guess who raised them? Your grandpa is half of the reason your parent is as amazing as they are... That deserves a lot of credit and appreciation.

4. He lets you eat the good stuff

As a kid and now. As a kid, you'd get all the candy or snacks you wanted and we just kept it between us. Even now, half a quart of ice cream for each of us is a quality snack at grandpa's house.

5. He has shown you what true, beautiful love is

Whether your grandma and his partner in crime is still here or is watching over you, the love they've had for longer than your parents have even been alive is an inspiration. Since you were a child, you've had some pretty amazing role models to look up to.

6. He has however many grandkids and still keeps up with you

Whether you're the only grandkid or 1 of 30, somehow he always stays up to date about what's going on in your life.

7. He's genuinely interested in your life

You never have to feel like you're talking grandpa's ear off about your new job, your school or your relationship. He's all ears because he truly cares about you.

8. And swears to hunt down any person who hurts you

If you haven't got the "I'll kill anyone who hurts you" spiel from your grandpa, I think he's grandpa-ing wrong. You can cross me. You probably can't cross dad, but if you happen to slip through the cracks, you will not cross grandpa.

9. He's been there for all of your milestones

Whether it was your elementary talent show or your high school graduation, he's been there to watch you.

10. His job is just to love you

Grandparents' job as a whole is to love and spoil their grandkids. It makes sense why it is considered the best job in the world... And your grandpa is probably really good at it.

11. And he might be your biggest fan

No one cheers louder or high fives you harder than your grandpa, no matter if you're playing a sport or playing the piano. He is your number one fan and it is important everyone knows it.

12. He's known you your whole life

He's watched you go from a tiny baby to the incredible person you are now. And hopefully, he knows that a lot of who you are now is because of him.

13. He'd do anything for you

Name it and he'll do it. That's what people who love you like a grandpa loves their grandkid do.

14. He always has a smile for you

Sometimes your parents get mad at you and they're not happy to see you. No one is 100 percent excited to see you every time they see you... Except grandpa.

15. He loves you so incredibly much

The biggest and best reason he is so amazing is that he loves you. Unconditionally, always. You don't get a lot of those people in your life, so it is important to cherish them and love them back as strong as you can.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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