“Just take five to ten minutes, you are worth it,” colon cancer survivor Allison Solomon urges in her Instagram post. As described on her website, Allison is “a mother to three boys all with ADHD, cancer survivor, and wife to an incredible man who makes every day an adventure.” Allison was 38 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 3b colon cancer seven years ago. She marks that as the five seconds where everything she knew to be true was shattered.
Coping With A Cancer Diagnosis
Solomon was initially devastated when receiving her diagnosis. However, in a recent powerful instagram post, Solomon describes the lessons that cancer inevitably ended up teaching her.
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5 seconds is all it takes . 5 seconds is all it takes to have your world come crashing down. 5 seconds is all it takes to hear the words I am sorry you have ♋️ cancer. 👌I had my 5 seconds 7 years ago and this is what I want to tell you. This is what I share in my video. 🤛Don’t wait for tragedy to change your life 🤛You have the power to decide whether you rise up or sink down Drop a heart ❤️ emoji for all those cancer survivors, those battling cancer and those we lost to cancer. #cancerwarrior #coloncancer #cancersurvivors #ibeatcancer #lessonsfromcancer #fuckcancer
The first lesson she learned is that people wait for tragedy to change their lives. We wait for a critical turning point in our lives where something devastating or life-changing occurs that evokes change.
But Solomon says that you don’t have to wait for tragedy. The power is in your hands to make that change now. You can decide how you want to live your life. We never take the time to reflect and think about what in our lives makes us happy and what does not. If we are able to sit down and think about what we want, then we can move forward with the things we love and leave behind the things that do not serve us. This is where the next lesson comes into play.
The power of choice. No one can choose what life is going to throw their way. “We don’t have the choice when cancer comes knocking at the door,” says Solomon. However, we do have a choice in the ways we decide to deal with what is unexpectedly thrown at us.
Talking To Your Kids About Your Cancer Diagnosis
Solomon was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, when her three sons were 5, 8, and 10 years of age respectively. In an interview with SurvivorNet, Solomon described herself as “the most positive person that you would ever have met,” relying on her faith to get her through her cancer diagnosis. However, the most difficult part of the journey was telling her sons about her diagnosis. She and her husband wanted to shield their children from the horrors of the world, one of those being cancer.
“We received all types of advice, tell them only what they ask; don’t tell them. We told them that I was going to be having ‘treatments,’ our term for chemotherapy, and that I was going to be very tired. What we learnt the hard way, is that one should never underestimate how perceptive our children are. We think that they cannot notice that we are falling apart, we think by acting brave in front of them, that they will not pick up on the emotional tidal wave that is sweeping through our houses. Our children are highly intuitive beings, and whether words are said or not, they know what is going on by our body language, the light or lack of that in our eyes,” says Solomon.
Solomon’s sons eventually figured out that their mother’s fatigue was due to the treatment she was getting for her cancer. One of Solomon’s sons loved super heroes and when her hair started to fall out, Solomon recalls her son comforting her. “My hair began to fall out in clumps, he came to me and told me not to worry as super heroes’ don’t need hair to have super powers. That night as I watched the strands of hair fall out of my beautiful mane swirling around the drain, I cried and laughed. I laughed because my son still thought I had super powers and Cancer could not take that away from me.”
Positivity Throughout Her Cancer Journey
Solomon told us that throughout her cancer journey, she tried to remain as positive as she could. When chemotherapy first began, she held onto that promise. However, towards the end, she was so set on surviving that she forgot about living life and taking it all in.
“Living is about taking moments out of our lives and savouring them. Not the big moments but the small insignificant ones. The ones when we wake up first and can hear the breathing of our spouse next to us or standing pouring milk into a cereal bowl for our son. Those are the precious moments that give us the comfort the ability to be positive and to appreciate all that we are so richly endowed with,” says Solomon. In those moments, she recognized the need to live, not just survive, and to enjoy life for what it is.
Even with her positive and inspiring perspective, Solomon acknowledges that there are moments of anxiety and pain. She says that it is so much harder to be a warrior than to succumb to the pain and the exhaustion of cancer, the treatment that comes with it, and the mental and physical toll it takes on someone. She says some days it’s hard to see the glass half full. “It all comes down to YOU and what you choose and no one, not even cancer, can take that power away,” says Solomon. She is now seven years out from her original diagnosis and currently in remission.