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The Words a Nurse Whispered to Me at the Beginning of My Cancer Journey

Dr. Fabianna Marie
A professional portrait of a woman looking directly into the camera.

Fourteen years ago, I sat in a waiting room for my consultation with the board of doctors who would decide my cancer journey. As I sat there shaking, sweating palms, tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach, a woman leaned over next to me, whispered softly and said, “99% of this fight will be your mental fight.”

I have never forgotten those words and to this day, I am reminded of how much they have made such a difference in my life. From that day forward, that statement has been my mantra. It is what I wrap myself in when days seem impossible, when the world looks grim and my mind wanders to a place of despair.

I have shared those words of wisdom with many people in the last 14 years and I can only hope they make as much of a difference for the people I shared them with as they did for me. My blog, Fabulously Fighting, was truly built on this foundation. The bravest thing any of us will ever do is to consciously choose to live.

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I have worked diligently over the years to encompass healing my mind, body and soul. I have had many setbacks, many days when all I wanted to do was put my head under the covers and give up. Many days spent crying and purging emotions. But I have also spent many days basking in the joy of the amazing life I have.

We all have our own way of coping with life, loss, setbacks and adversity. We all have our very own acts of survival — our own ways of staying positive when we find ourselves in too much pain to feel anything at all. The one thing we could all agree upon is our ability to use our mental strength to forge ahead and find the light within some of the darkest days. Our mental strength is the one variable that is a constant in our thriving through life.

I want to thank the beautiful stranger who changed my life 14 years ago. You have given me the best gift I could have ever received: Perspective. In that one moment, you shed a light on the dark road I was about to embark on. That light has continued to stay lit for others to walk and will continue to shine for years to come.

Related:Why Cancer ‘Good News’ Stories Can Be Harmful

Whenever you are doubting how far you can go, remember how far you have come. Remember the people who have shined the light on the dark path for you to find your way. Remember the battles you win in silence because of the hard work you put into your mental fight.

“Your strongest muscle and worst enemy is your mind. Train it well.” -Unknown

Follow this journey at Fabulously Fighting.

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