We all have a warrior within us. For me, it wasn’t something I had shown to many people. I was never very competitive, you want to beat me, go right ahead. I have always been someone that doesn’t like to make waves, so if you are happy, I am happy. Still to this day I get very uncomfortable with any disagreements, I don’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings, even if mine pays the price.
When the switch of life flips to a new challenge that you’ve never faced before, and suddenly it has some life or death aspects to it, you learn to lean on your warrior within. You learn to trust and depend on that warrior because it gets you through the tough days.
You may not think you are a warrior, but everyone has these qualities and depending on the situation, some traits will be stronger than others. As you evolve on your journey, you will also be developing these traits into exactly what you need to get through each day.
Mindset – Face life’s obstacles, learn from everything you do. It is so easy to sit and wonder why me? I guess I tried not to do that from the start, because, really, isn’t it too late to say that when it has already happened? It is a waste of your energy to let your mind go down that road, when there is nothing you can do about what is already done. I have a saying in my kitchen that say “don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” Each day you need to focus your mindset on the present. It is okay to learn what didn’t work yesterday, but try not to dwell on it. Figure out what is going to work for you today.
Honor your body – Do everything in your power to do good things for your body. Your body can do amazing things if you let it. Focus on eating better, getting enough sleep, drink more water, moving your body. For me the more I focused on these things, the better I felt going through chemo. Your body will try to heal itself if you give it the tools it needs.
Strength – Push yourself, explore what works for you. Most days I would get up early in the morning and workout. Cancer and chemo can zap a lot of energy from you and there are days when you never know when no stamina will hit you. On those mornings, I would push myself to do something. If I couldn’t do the elliptical for more than 5 minutes I would stop and hop on my bike instead, even if it was only for 20 minutes. My goal was to do something to keep my good cells happy. You can’t just wake up one morning and run a marathon without training, so I guess my mindset was to work every day on building my stamina by pushing myself just a little.
Bravery - Embrace fear, once you experience what you may fear, it becomes easier, but there will always be new fears around the corner. When my hair started to fall out, I decided to take control of the situation and have someone shave my head. I had to embrace the fear of it falling out by taking the control and making the decision to do it on my terms. This scary situation turned into something exhilarating for me. I remember walking with a bounce in my step after because I had taken control. Cancer was in the backseat at that moment and I was the driver!
Confidence - Act like a warrior with determination and focus. If you can’t focus on everything that is going on at once, that’s okay. Choose one thing to focus on at a time if you need to. Listen to your heart and do what feels right. The main goal for your warrior is to keep up the fight so you win whatever you are battling.
Take a new path if needed. Recently it dawned on me that I needed to change my thinking. As people ask me how I’m doing, I tend to focus on the fact that Ovarian Cancer is a chronic disease that has a 70-80% re-occurrence rate. I realize now that I’ve been saying it wrong. For my benefit I should be saying I have a 20-30% chance of no re-occurrence. Just saying it that way gives me more confidence, and isn’t that how it should be?
Sometimes we need to be a compassion warrior. Give your inner self a chance to deal with all that is going on in your life. Give yourself time for acceptance. Warriors need rest too. You will be frustrated at times, but this too shall pass. You will gain much wisdom as you let your inner warrior learn to be and flow with your journey.
Sometimes the best thing that can happen is that the warrior on the outside matches the warrior on the inside. That’s when you can truly fight the fight.