Remember you’re living with it; not dying from it!

What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things, instead of using people and loving things
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Positive Inspirational Personal Growth Stories

Remember you're living with it; not dying from it!

'Thinking back to when I first heard the words . . . 'I'm sorry, but you have stage one pleural mesothelioma cancer,' it's hard to believe that I'm here telling my account of what was to follow. As the old saying goes however, things happen for a reason. I believe my purpose is to share my experience with others.

My name is Katherine Keys, and I've been fighting cancer for a long time now. Despite mesothelioma having a nearly 90% mortality rate, I am still alive. Listening to the doctor's life shattering words, my prognosis was nothing short of traumatic and challenging.

Weeks, if not months, went by before I stopped letting my emotions loop me around a never-ending rollercoaster of pain and sorry. At some point, I gave up.

But like anything else, I picked myself back up.

Eventually, I said to myself . . . 'I'm not going to let this consume me or control my life', and instead of swimming in my own misery, I started to look at things just a little bit differently. This was about the time where I underwent a very invasive and potentially life-threatening procedure to have my right lung removed. Coming out of that successfully, I felt a bit of hope, joy and relief - I was more easily able to acknowledge my level of strength and perseverance. As more time passed, and standard treatments followed (e.g. chemo and radiation), it wasn't long before all my energy went into finding new ways to challenge my mind, body and spirit.

I wandered into areas of alternative therapy/medicine, including meditation and Reiki. While I sought counselling to deal with some of these traumatic life occurrences and the prognosis, I knew deep down that only real battle I was fighting was with myself.

You see, the human mind can be a very fickle thing if left to wander. As such, it's very important to have a positive mantra, and to remember to live by it, especially under circumstances where terminal illness is involved. If you let it, the mind will beat you up and drag you down if you let it - more so than cancer itself.

I've seen so many folks fight and lose along the way - some of which are still alive. So to this day, I continue to tell myself that each day is a new day with new opportunities and challenges, and to remember to treat it as such.

Realizing this was a defining moment, and not just for me, but for everybody around me in my direct circle of support and care. I'm talking about family, medical professionals, legal professionals and an intricate network of care specialists, including nurses and doctors; all of whom were influencers in pushing me to my maximum potential in the true fight against me.

Ultimately, my positive attitude played a huge role in allowing me to persevere.

From my prognosis and battle with cancer, I learned that the one that that will always stand in your way is you - Time and again I find that to be true, and will hold on to that forever. Regardless of what you’re suffering from - whether it's the removal of a lung, loss of hair or shortness of breath, these are words to hold onto and cherish.

Again, I feel blessed to have the chance to share this story with friends, family and others. Each day is a gift, and our limitations come from within; not from the loss of a lung or shortness of breath. For all of those people struggling with cancer, remember you're living with it; not dying from it.

Written by Katherine Keys

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