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  • Writer's pictureSandy

Up for the Challenge

When life gets harder, challenge yourself to be stronger.

Challenge means something different for many. I know many of you think that Cancer is a challenge, and it is, but looking back at this past year it was way less of a challenge than I thought. Each day you get to wake up and continue on with the fight. That even continues yet today. The key word here is get to. Don’t waste your energy on why or what did I do wrong, focus your energy on each day, first today, and then tomorrow.

Most people will look at situations and say, “I could never do that or face that.” Suddenly when you are faced with something unpleasant you need to figure out how to get rid of the “un” and make it pleasant. Don’t expect this to happen overnight, give yourself some slack to grow. In time, I believe what you thought would be a horrible journey turns into something you grow in ways you never thought possible. When you look back and think of your original feelings and compare them to how you feel now, it gives you a revelation about life. You know you are continuing to evolve into the person you were always meant to be.

One of the challenges I faced before Cancer was dealing with my Mother-in-law’s Alzheimer. There came a time she had to be placed in a memory care unit. I struggled with how I would continue to have some type of connection with her. I wanted to figure out how to make my visits worthwhile to her. I came across a book that helped me in the area. It is called Creating Moments of Joy by Jolene Brackey. This book focused on what you could do for people suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s that would bring them joy. After I finished this book, I thought about my Mother-in-law’s life and her relationship with God and her church. My idea started taking shape, but I was crazy nervous about my confidence in pulling the idea off.

“Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.” -From the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle

I had decided to go to her memory care unit and sing hymns with the residents. After getting the okay from the facility’s management, I began going there 2 times a month and sing church hymns with the residents for usually a half hour. Many times I would complete our singing and start packing up my things, turn around, and would be asked what I was doing because they had already forgotten what had went on. But I want to tell you, when we were singing and yes, they would join in with me, they would sing every word. Sometimes with eyes closed, many times with smile or a familiar look, the look of JOY. What happened is the challenge of joy for my Mother-in-law turned into so much JOY for me! The connection I felt with those residents was worth the risk of putting myself out there. They didn’t care if my singing was the best or not, or that I stayed in tune, they just enjoyed hearing something that gave them a good feeling in their heart. You see, sometimes what you think is a challenge, turns into a great experience, and you walk away a better person.

Throughout my chemo treatment I was very fortunate to hardly experience many side effects. Around the half way point, I began to experience some extreme vertigo. These episodes would come on with little or no signs. My whole line of vision would be completely spinning. I could not even lift my head, walk or anything. It was horrible. I would try to take my normal over the counter medicine and it would not help, then I would finally take the medicine that oncology prescribed for me and it would work. It took talking with my sister to realize I was trying to be brave and not take any of the medicine that was prescribed for me. I thought I could wait it out, but it always was too late. She challenged me to take the medicine right away as soon as I felt something coming on, even if it was a small sensation. Because of this, I only ended up having 5 or 6 episodes and then the vertigo completely went away.

I realized I was looking at this challenge the wrong way. I had all the tools, but I needed to use them. You see, sometimes the challenge can be to listen to someone who has experience and is looking out for your best interest and then following through with what they say.

There are many challenges people face on a daily bases, we know that to some people, these challenges seem much worse than Cancer. If you are facing some type of challenge, my prayer and hope for you is that you are able to face each day and find some positive things along the way. I encourage you to take it a day at a time. Just get through one today and then do it again. When you look back you will be able to see how it was shaping you into the person you are today. We never know what it is around the corner, but that is okay….I know you are up for the challenge!

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