Owed to Cancer

We dedicate this post as a tribute to National Cancer Survivors Day which is this Sunday, June 3rd.

Thank you to all who have been touched by cancer and graced us with your thoughts and words of strength. And thank you to our past guest bloggers who have shared the same.

The following is a compilation in your own words.

Cancer has given me perspective and clarity and genuine compassion for life and the gifts we are given every day. Losing Darren, as devastating and tragic and heart breaking that it was, has instilled in me the ability to love more deeply, give more freely, and no longer sweat the small stuff! I am a better person for having loved and lost Darren. You will never be forgotten DLF. ~Rhonda Sparks

We all – every cancer Survivor – make adjustments; but cancer can not win; we must continue to live and do what brings us joy and peace, or cancer wins.  So when I golf I always wait in the shade to take my next shot; I look for shade when I take my walks. I work in our yard and gardens when the sun moves behind the house.  And I continue to purchase sun-protective clothing and am diligent about wearing it. ~Kurt’s Story 

My mom’s sister was diagnosed with melanoma on her back, and within 30 days she lost her battle to skin cancer. Not even a year later I had a spot appear on my lower lip. I took treatment right way. I had learned from my aunt to not ignore it. If you think there is something wrong, deal with it straight on, don’t be scared. Through these experiences I have changed my career path and my lifestyle and it has made me all the better. ~Addictions Fashion Show


I completely changed my view of the sun and my views of skin cancer and tanning beds especially. I went through a dark depression for about a year after I was diagnosed. I didn’t want to go outside because people would always ask me, “what happened to you?” But there wasn’t one person who ever guessed that I had, had skin cancer. The day I started doing speeches, and trying to educate people about the dangers of tanning beds and skin cancer in general is the day I regained my life back. I became a survivor instead of a victim. I could finally make a difference in what had happened to me and not just wallow in my own misery. ~MaryAnn 

When my brother was recently diagnosed with two different forms of cancer making him the first in the country, The doctors didn’t know what to do. He had surgery to remove it and so far he’s cancer free 🙂 Though it may take him 6 months to fully recover, I’m praising God for all that has occurred. No matter what, God is in control and though my brother may go some day, I will still be here continuing to praise God for all He has done. I can do all things through him who strengthens me – Phil. 4:13.~Sarah Pickering

I was diagnosed in 2003. I had previously been a tanning bed user, and I also would sunbathe outdoors. I knew about skin cancer, but I didn’t know about melanoma. Now I no longer tan, and I always use sunscreen. I am extremely careful with my children’s skin. For that I consider my melanoma a blessing because if nothing else I know they will be better protected. We also use sunscreen and sun protective clothing.  I also do not take life for granted. I am extremely blessed to be here, and I thank God for that.  I try to warn others about the dangers of sun exposure and tanning bed usage. I do not want them to go through the same thing that I did. ~Amy’s Story 

My brother and I have pre-cancerous skin cancer. And I have had a couple cancerous spots remove none of which were Melanoma. My wife is almost 5 years removed from cervical cancer. My dad also died of colon cancer. ~Cliff Angel

what cancer has done for me, in the face of fear, has actually made me fear life less…i go! i do! i explore! i do things i never thought i would do, like zip lining and snorkeling. i travel much more. i love much deeper. i appreciate much further. so, even in the scariest times, there are good things to be found! SEEK THE GOOD!  ~Respect the Rays

My maternal grandparents and my mother always used the phrase, “Rise above it”.  That phrase has been one I have recited over and over throughout different phases of my life.  It can apply to any obstacle.  When I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, I remember telling myself that phrase over and over again.  I did not want the melanoma to define me; I just wanted it to be a phase I would go through and it would be over.  I was fortunate that I caught it in the early stages.  Now when I have to return for skin checks or blood work I find myself reciting that phrase.  It reminds me to live as an optimist.  I am well aware that though I caught it in the early stages, melanoma could return months or years from now or manifest in another type of cancer.  So I try to “rise above it” and keep going.  The other quote I live by is from Abraham Lincoln:  “Whatever you are, be a good one.”  I like it because it reminds me to be good in every aspect of my life, whether as a parent, professional, wife, daughter, sister or friend.  Life is dynamic and since we are constantly changing and growing and experiencing different relationships and roles, we should strive to be good in each and every one. ~Clare