Survivors & Gratitude
- 7 cancer survivors talk to SurvivorNet about what keeps them strong and positive.
- Being grateful, giving back, seeing the good, and leaning on faith, have all been sources of support for these survivors.
- Keeping a positive attitude through the cancer journey has been shown to make it easier.
“Life is a journey, not a destination… As a cancer survivor, I became acutely aware that life is lived in moments.”
Amanda Crowell Itliong is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor from Detroit
Amanda Crowell Itliong speaks candidly with SurvivorNet about cancer’s impact on her life. She says, “Cancer has been a challenge in my life for the past 12 years. You might think it would be the other way around, but as things in life piled up and got more complicated, I always found more sunshine. Positivity and confidence come from repeatedly proving that my inner strength can handle whatever the outside world brings to bear… Love has healed me time and again so my challenge is always to share love with others in hopes of helping them heal as well.”
“As things in life piled up and got more complicated, I always found more sunshine.”
Crowell Itliong says that cancer helps her keep perspective as well. “The tougher life gets the more cancer reminds me that love can get me through anything. Believing in myself and accepting love from others always helps me heal. Sharing my love and positivity with others can help us through whatever the world throws our way.”
Peggy Bell is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor Who Relies On Faith
Survivor Peggy Bell finds support through her faith. And she’s not alone – many find their faith and faith communities to be tremendous sources of support through the cancer journey. Bell tells SurvivorNet, “God is always in control so I’m not going to worry or stress about events that we can’t Impact and Always stay Prayerful.”
Marnie Rustemeyer is a Thyroid Cancer Survivor Making a Difference for Others
Medical tattoo artist Marnie Rustemeyer tells SurvivorNet, “As much as we try to show up for ourselves and lift each other up, it can be difficult to remain positive in a world of uncertainty. Areola restorative tattooing allows survivors to look at themselves with confidence and joy, see how they were prior to this disease, and love themselves again. It not only helps a survivor heal but is a positive and creative outlet for me as well. ”
“There is truly no better feeling than to give back.”
For Rustemeyer, she gets her juice from giving back to others. “There is truly no better feeling than to give back a part of someone that was lost due to breast cancer. Oftentimes, my sessions end in happy tears, and it’s not just my clients who get misty. It’s really great to help them heal and I’m grateful to be able to use my skills and creativity to enhance someone else’s life.
Araceli Rubi is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor Talks of Hope
Araceli Rubi is blessed with a powerful, motivated attitude. Rubi tells us, “In difficult times, always have hope and never give up! Life is beautiful–even when it’s not! Laughter is the soul’s medicine; smile – because it warms the heart.”
“Be grateful for all you have in life.”
Gratitude, she says, plays a part in her life. “Be grateful for all you have in life even with the bumps; life is more than material things. Life is family, smiles, laughter, hugs, pain, tears, soccer games, movie nights, barbecues, dancing, karaoke nights, slumber parties…all these are moments in life that make life beautiful even with the bumps.”
Lynn Brooks is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor Speaks of Enjoying the “Journey”
Lynn Brooks thinks of the long game, and says, “Life is a journey, not a destination… As a cancer survivor, I became acutely aware that life is lived in moments, having honest conversations, be it often emotionally raw, with not only fellow cancer warriors but everyone.”
“Our job is to be the witness to all the daily beauty in the world, large and small.”
Brooks relishes in the small things, especially beautiful moments in nature. “Live in the moment by listening to the sounds of nature – the rhythmic crash of the ocean waves, the crunch underfoot of a tree being beckoned by autumn, or merely the coo of a newborn baby. Our job is to be the witness to all the daily beauty in the world, large and small. Our job is to not only love fully, but to appreciate and notice the beauty that abounds and that requires living in the moment.
Nancy Iverson is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor Who Calls Out Importance of Positivity
Nancy Iverson wants people to know that they have a choice in how they perceive what happens to them. “Everyone seeks happiness but sometimes in the course of life, we experience dismay, negativity, or deep sadness that can be overwhelming or all-consuming, if we allow it. How we embrace these experiences must come from within us. Maintaining positivity requires us to do some sorting and focusing on all of the positives of our life that bring us joy, hope and love from one to another.”
Diana Faison is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor from Charlotte
Diana Faison finds inspiration in the words of historical role models, like Helen Keller. She tells SurvivorNet, “Helen Keller – who has always been an inspiration to me – as a child I read all her books, biographies, and multiple movies – said this: ‘Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see the shadow.’ We all have one life on this earth. It is full of disappointment, sorrow, and pain, yes. BUT, when you look for the good (and sometimes that is an all-out HUNT); when you look for the gift of the circumstance; or what could be on the other side of the rainstorm (perhaps a rainbow) then, and only then, will you find peace, happiness, and JOY. It is a choice!”