• lived

    I Lived

    “I lived” – Inspirational

    Leanna Ramirez was diagnosed with a rare and incurable brain cancer at fifteen years old. She went through four chemotherapy rounds, 33 radiation therapy rounds, and two surgeries. Unfortunately, not all of the brain tumor could be removed. Even through side effects like headaches and memory and hearing loss, Leanna found her way to hope and positivity.

    Her mother heard the song, “I Lived,” by OneRepublic, and turned its message into their family’s inspiration to live each day to its fullest. She encouraged Leanna to make an “I Lived” list of all the things she wants to do in her life, no matter how grand, not worrying about time. Through the help of a GoFundMe page, the family has gone on a helicopter tour of Hawaii, zip-lined in the Poconos, and played with koalas at the Columbus zoo. They were even able to take Leanna’s dream trip to New York City. The trip included ice skating at Rockefeller Center, taking a carriage ride in Central Park, and watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve from Time Square.

    Leanna’s “I Lived” list has inspired both her and her family to live for today. They try to focus on how to enjoy each moment you do have instead of worrying about the ones you might not get. Now at eighteen years old, Leanna and her family are helping other kids with cancer write their own “I Lived” lists. Read more about the story on MSN here.

     

    Take Action:

    What would your “I Lived” list include?
    Do you want to travel? Take a college course? Attend a game for your favorite team? Maybe you want to learn a new skill?

    What are you proud of that you’ve already done?
    Do you volunteer in your community or with your school? Have you been part of a club? Did you made something for someone else? Are you a good friend to someone? Consider including the things that you’re proud of if continuing to do them makes you happy.

    Write Your “I Lived” List Today
    AYA Cancer gives people a unique perspective on life. Whether you’ve had cancer or someone you know has been affected by cancer, an “I Lived” list can inspire you to live in the moment. Comment on this post to let us know some of the items you included on your “I Lived” list.

  • story

    Your Story Matters

    “Owning your story is the bravest thing you will ever do.” – Brene Brown

    It doesn’t always seem like a good thing.

    A diagnosis changes your life and turns everything upside down. Suddenly, people are looking to see how you’ll pull through it, cheering you on and telling you what an inspiration you are.

    You don’t always feel like an inspiration.

    Some days, you just want to crawl under the covers and disappear from the world.

    Social media in our day and age has made it harder and harder to do that. With smartphones and a constant lifeline to the outside world, we’re in the spotlight even more than we’d sometimes like to be. Everyone wants an update — or we feel the pressure to keep everyone informed about our lives 24/7.

    But there is a positive aspect to sharing your story. And more than just sharing, but really owning your journey and being okay with it.

    It takes time. Some of us are ready to share details and process as the story unfolds. Others need to walk through it first, and process later. We are all different, every journey is different, and your story will impact someone else in a powerful way if you are willing to share it.

    Because somewhere out there, someone just like you is struggling with the exact same thing, hoping for a sense of connection.

    It may be easier to push away the feelings and just “get on with life”, but when you shift your perspective to the mindset that your journey is for a greater purpose, you are taking a big, brave step. Owning your story will empower others to do the same. It’s a ripple effect that you may never fully see in this lifetime, but it’s true nonetheless: your pain will have a purpose.

    Choosing to see the greater good isn’t easy. Choosing to own your story isn’t easy. Choosing to share your journey for the benefit of others who are struggling isn’t easy.

    But it will be worth it. You will grieve, you will release, and you will heal.

    And it’s scientific, too! According to Lissa Rankin, M.D., “Telling your story—while being witnessed with loving attention by others who care—may be the most powerful medicine on earth. Each us is a constantly unfolding narrative, a hero in a novel no one else can write. And yet so many of us leave our stories untold, our songs unsung—and when this happens, we wind up feeling lonely, listless, out of touch with our life’s purpose, plagued with a chronic sense that something is out of alignment. We may even wind up feeling unworthy, unloved, or sick.”

    Healing is only possible when you can let go and trust. Rankin continues, “Every time you tell your story and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocindopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fearanger, and feelings of disconnection.” (Psychology Today)

    So don’t be afraid of your story.

    It may hurt, it may feel uncomfortable to share at first. But the more you allow yourself to embrace your journey and truly believe in the greater purpose you play in the lives of others through your willingness to just be YOU, amazing things will start to happen — not just in your own life, but unlocking courage and inspiration in the lives of others who need to hear exactly what only you can say.


    About the Author

    Sabrina Gauer is our Communications Coordinator and Wellness Coach here at 13thirty Cancer Connect! Follow her Instagram for more tips and encouragement for whole health and wellness living!