#CancerTaughtMe | I have a Purpose
By Chinelo Crystal Onyeador
On July 1st, 2014 I was officially diagnosed with cancer. Now, on August 11th, 2016 I have just completed my last chemotherapy infusion EVER!! It's been a long time coming. 2 years and 2 months, 33 chemo treatments, 3 surgeries, 1 stem cell transplant, and a lot of faith later, this chapter of my life is finally coming to a close.
At the beginning of this journey, I said that God gives us these challenges in our lives and has us experience different things so that there is a lesson, or a few lessons, that we can take and make ourselves better from. My faith in Him was the main thing that got me through this entire process, but I've decided that I should share some of the lessons that I gained from this blessing in disguise. Here are six things that #CancerTaughtMe.
1. #CancerTaughtMe to STOP COMPLAINING SO DAMN MUCH.
I have never been too much of a complainer. Most people that know me would say I'm pretty chill and mostly go with the flow. But now that I have experienced a life threatening disease, I know that one, it gets better and two, it could always be worse. Like seriously. It could always be worse. We live in a time period where social media makes it so easy to complain. Like I can literally tweet Chipotle to complain that an employee was being stingy with the sour cream. Pick and choose your battles. Think of the positives: you can afford to eat Chipotle, that sour cream is probably very fattening and not good for you. And plus, people who always complain are super annoying. It could ALWAYS be worse. Take the L in silence sometimes.
2. #CancerTaughtMe that my hair is not actually that serious.
Prior to having cancer, and I'm sure all my fellow natural haired sisters can relate, I would spend hours upon hours watching hair tutorials on YouTube. Trying to learn the best bantu knot or twist out method, which products would work the best, confused why my hair doesn't look like the girl's in the video even though I did exactly what she said to do. I was so focused on my natural hair journey and trying to reach a certain length and making sure it stayed healthy too. It consumed me. But then I found out I would have to do chemo, and besides worrying if my tastebuds would change, my hair falling out was the side effect I feared most. I found a wig that I liked and I wore it for a while, but then my scalp started sweating, and I was tired of trying to make it look realistic. So I put it on the wig stand one day and left my house with my newly shiny head. It hit me that for soooo many years, I put my hair in such a high spot on my list of priorities just for it to all fall out. Now that it's growing back, I barely do anything to it. I've realized there are more important matters in life. And the crazy part is everyone always compliments it. Life is funny.
3. #CancerTaughtMe YOLO (but so did Drake).
You only live once. So cliche, I know. But don't let something major in your life happen before you realize you must seize every day. It literally took cancer for me to live life to the fullest. Now, that doesn't mean to ignore your responsibilities and go crazy, but do the stuff you've always said you wanted to do. Start that business you've been dreaming about, buy those expensive shoes you've been eyeing, go out on a weeknight (that's how you know I'm getting old). Life is so short. You never know when your time is up. Like the guy from the Everest College commercials says "What are you waiting for? Get up and go do it now!"
4. #CancerTaughtMe that someone is always watching you.
I don't mean that in a stalker-ish way. I mean that no matter how unimportant or insignificant you think you are, somebody cares about you, somebody thinks you're a role model. The way that you look at someone as an inspiration, somebody is looking at you the exact same way. If you aren't gonna do it for yourself, give that person something more to be inspired by. When I started this blog, one of the reasons was just so I wouldn't have to call 500 people to update them about my progress all the time. Suddenly people from all over the world were telling me I was an inspiration. I was so confused. I was just sharing my story, a story that millions of people could relate to. But sometimes just being yourself is enough. I guess 4.5 #CancerTaughtMe is to always be yourself. I hate that these are so cliche, but it's the truth. Nobody on earth is like you. You're special. You're poppin. Be your poppin self at all times. You never know who's appreciating it.
5. #CancerTaughtMe it's okay to be self-centered sometimes.
Even though I am an only child, I'm not completely self-absorbed. I'm one of those people who puts others' needs before my own way too often. My parents told me that in kindergarten I would get N's (needs improvement) on "completing tasks on time" on my report cards because I was too busy helping the other kids with their work and wouldn't finish my own. I've learned to better manage my time since then, but it's still a part of who I am. When I was sick, I realized that this was a time to focus on myself. I would want to do things and go places to support my friends but my body would not allow me. I had to take some time out for myself to get back to normal and give myself some rest. For once, it was all about me. I'm not gonna lie, it felt good. But now I've learned that their must be a good balance of helping others and helping yourself. I grew so much in the two years I was sick just from being by myself and now I'm so much more focused on me and my goals and not everyone else's.
6. #CancerTaughtMe sometimes you need to ask for help.
While I have no problem helping others, I did have a problem asking for help. I pride myself in being self-sufficient and pretty independent. I HATE relying on others. But when I had a chemo infusion and even more so after my transplant, I was absolutely useless. I could barely walk, standing up in the shower would take everything out of me, I couldn't even put lotion on. My parents had to help me with the most basic activities and I hated it. But I understand that as much as I would like to be superwoman, I'm not. There's gonna be times when you need to ask for help and it could hurt you more if you try do everything yourself. Ask and thou shalt receive or whateva.
There's a bunch of other things I learned from cancer, but these are the things that stuck out most. Of course some of these things I already knew, but cancer helped solidify them for me. I'm gonna try to do this blogging thing more. Thanks for all the prayers for the past 2 years. They worked!
love from ya girl,
Stay in touch with Crystal Chinelo Onyeador
Outfit of the day