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The Test in my Testimony

 

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Today marks my 6th “cancer-versary” as a breast cancer “thriver.” WooHoo! Amen! And, wow! After rereading these words, the lyrics of a gospel song immediately came to mind. “As I look back over my life – And I think things over – I can truly say, that I’ve been blessed – I’ve got a testimony.” Make no mistake about it, I’ve experienced some extreme challenges while on this cancer journey. However, they are outnumbered by victory…after victory…after victory! 

I remember getting that phone call at work as if it were yesterday. The diagnosis simply made no sense. For decades, I had been doing everything recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle. I ate properly and exercised regularly. I never drank and never smoked. Cancer? The drive home was accompanied by a torrential downpour of tears. I can’t tell you how I arrived safely. But when I walked through the door, the silence was so loud. Cancer.

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Somewhere between the tears, God managed to get my attention. He reminded me that during the years I spent on “Separated Street” and “Divorce Drive,” He provided everything that my children and I needed. I began to have great conversation with myself. “Yeah, that’s right. And if He could do all of that, He can certainly handle a cancer diagnosis.” From the very beginning, I knew that there was purpose connected to my diagnosis. My goal then became living – by any means necessary.

 

Days later, I had a 2-hour conversation with a survivor. She suggested that I include blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes in my diet. My response? “Yuck, yuck, and yuck!” Since childhood, I have always hated the feel of seeds in my mouth. And now she wants me to eat them? After we hung up, the goal continued to ring in my ears: “living – by any means necessary.” I began the process of teaching myself to eat blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. It would take me 20 minutes to eat 1 strawberry and 5 blueberries. Talk about torture. Today, I absolutely love blueberries and strawberries, and I like tomatoes. Of course, I now wish that they had been part of my food repertoire earlier in life.

 

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6 years later, the goal remains the same and I apply it to everything. I’m clear – I fight cancer every day with every decision that I make related to my health – spirit, mind, and body. For example, I have to: 1) make good decisions about what I eat and drink, 2) monitor my stress levels and distance myself from negative people and experiences, and 3) be mindful of the products that I use on my body and in my home. I’m also clear that God is my center. He is responsible for the smile on my face and the joy in my heart. I have to stay plugged in and connected because He created me on purpose, with purpose, to fulfill purpose. Cancer just happens to be part of my purpose.

My purpose also includes this platform of promoting health and wellness as a lifestyle. My divine assignment is to “speak a word in season to him who is weary.” I don’t want a diagnosis of any type to be the wake up call that forces people to start paying attention to their health. The 25 years that I served in the field of education was the training ground for my current role as an inspirational speaker. I enjoy teaching people how to properly read and interpret nutrition labels. I love speaking to audiences about making lifestyle changes so that they can stress less and enjoy life more. My message can help someone improve the quality of their life, and possibly extend their quantity of days on Earth.

I strive to live each day with an exclamation point – not a comma, a period, or a question mark. I refuse to live a life of regret. My relationships with family and friends are extremely important to me. I make sure that I show and tell them that they are loved and appreciated. I believe that we should live like there’s no tomorrow. When you think about it, there really is no such thing as tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, it’s called today.

bc girl“Every day is a good day. Some are just better than others.” I coined this phrase years ago and it has helped me get through some trying times. You may find it helpful as well. I envision a world without cancer. Until then, I’m committed to making a difference in the lives of others. 

Cancer didn’t happen TO me. It happened FOR me. And if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.  

I can truly say, that I’ve been blessed – I’ve got a testimony.”

 

be NspireD!

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Celebrating Grace

I celebrate life every day. I strive to live life with an exclamation point and not a comma, or a period. However, today (June 22) is an extra special day. I celebrated my 5th “cancer-versary.” WooHoo! Amen! As a breast cancer “thriver,” I’m so excited to reach this first of many milestones.

The number 5 represents grace. Grace is an expression of God’s favor. I cannot begin to tell you about the favor that I have received and the doors that have opened for me as result of a cancer diagnosis. For example, I have met as well as spoken and ministered to women across the country. I created “Bosom Buddies Day” to encourage people to support women living with breast cancer, especially after active treatment ends. I have also created a conference for survivors living with all types of cancer. “KALEIDOSCOPE: Empowering Survivors ~ Mind, Body & Spirit” will be held September 23 & 24, 2016 in Newark, DE. This conference is designed to help survivors reduce their risk of cancer recurrence. (Follow KaleidoscopeDE on FaceBook. Registration opens in July.)

Here’s some more favor. As an ambassador for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), I was featured in commercials, an infomercial, as well as an international print ad campaign. Faith in healing was the subject of the “There is Hope” infomercial. Both the infomercial and the commercial included footage of me singing a song that I wrote entitled “I Trust You Lord.”  (https://youtu.be/HPvidtkXH7k)

After hearing the song, people called CTCA and wanted to know how they could contact me. I had no idea that my music ministry would have this type of reach.

Romans 8 reminds me that “…all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Cancer managed to do a lot of things over the last 5 years. Thanks to chemotherapy, my long hair? Gone. Taste buds? Shot. Immune system? Weakened. Regardless, I realized that my purpose is His purpose and nothing can kill my purpose. When I say nothing, I mean it literally – “no thing” can kill my purpose. Not cancer, not divorce, not death, not abandonment, not unemployment. Nothing means nothing the same way that all things means all things.

Cancer is also part of my purpose. Cancer didn’t happen TO me. Cancer happened FOR me. From the very beginning, I knew that I received a diagnosis for a bigger purpose. I am now living my purpose as I offer help, hope, and healing as an inspirational speaker promoting health and wellness as a lifestyle. I am passionate about my calling because I’m making a difference in my service to others. I use my gifts of speaking and teaching to help others improve their quality of life and possibly extend their quantity of days on Earth.

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I’m clear that my divine assignment is to “speak a word in season to him who is weary.” God has chosen to use me because He trusts me. For this, I am honored and humbled.

 

 

be NspireD!

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