I am better because of Cancer
Updated: Jul 17
Hello friends, allow me to introduce myself. I know we will get to know each other well as time passes here on the “PronetoRide” platform! My name is Jill Englund and I am many things; a cancer survivor, amputee, advocate, mom of three, wife, life coach, @bestofcancer blogger, dental hygienist and lover of pizza. My deepest desire in life is to shine my light from within to show others that we can overcome adversity. After surviving cancer at the age of nine, I became determined to not allow cancer to steal my joy or overtake my life. I wanted to embrace what I went through, but not be defined by it. I am bold enough to say that I am better because of having cancer; not just in spite of it. I had a choice to make, either use my "disability" as an excuse or as my fuel to push harder and be braver than I thought I could be.
Challenges in life are unavoidable and if you live long enough you’ll find yourself in a position where you wonder if you will ever find “normal” again. I know I have been there many times in my life and each time I come back stronger, more compassionate and determined. It’s simply part of the human experience. So what’s the key to overcoming adversity, you ask? It’s simple, but wait for the catch, because it’s not always easy.
1. Ask for help
Now if you’re a stubborn, “grin and bear it” kinda person like me, this is a hard one and as much as you would like to go it alone, this simply doesn’t work. I have never overcome a significant challenge in my life by myself and usually the more help I enlist from trusted people the better my success goes. In life we are not meant to do it alone and I know I have learned so much from the times I have admitted defeat and started fresh with a supportive team. As a kid going through cancer treatment and amputation of my leg I relied on my nurses, doctor, parents, friends and other kids going through treatment. They lifted me up when I was not able to do it for myself and they celebrated with me when a victory was won. I have found myself bonded forever in a profound way to the people who stood with me during my journey with cancer. I wouldn’t give that up for anything. The beauty of life lives in these impactful moments and life is made so much sweeter when we have people to celebrate the wins and lighten the blows of the losses.
2. Fiercely and boldly believe in yourself
Even on the days you don’t feel like it (those are typically the days we need it most). I accomplish this with awareness of my thoughts and the reaction I have to those thoughts. It’s human to have both “good” and “bad” thoughts, but you can learn a lot about yourself by being aware of them and then deciding what thoughts you choose to focus on (hint hint: choose to focus on what builds you up). If you’re like me, it can be helpful to leave an inspiring phrase on a post-it-note where you will see it each day or write uplifting messages to yourself with a dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror. On days when my energy feels low or I need extra support this trick really helps. In other words, believing in yourself is an inside job!
3. Never give up… EVER!
You can count on having tough days along the way and that’s normal. It is alright to feel your emotions and give yourself time to process, but life continues so we must put one foot in front of the other and get on with it. We will succeed only if we keep moving forward in spite of the fear, pain and hardship. We don’t have to have all the answers or even feel great about it all the time, but we can show up for ourselves and continue no matter how difficult. The path of overcoming can often feel like one step forward, two steps back. The important thing is we never give up!
Life can be both challenging and beautiful. Moreover, the moments that deepen us as humans are usually hidden within the struggles. There can be no light without the dark, so remember this the next time you hit a roadblock (or what feels like rock bottom) it is simply time to pivot and not quit. I look forward to shining light in my future blog posts on the lessons learned in life and how we can grow through them on our journey to becoming our best selves!