My name is Joy, and at just 33 years young I confronted my eventual mortality very unexpectedly head on. I was surprised, shocked, and definitely not happy to hear what 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will hear at some point during their life: “You have cancer.”
The diagnosis came as a total shock to me, and I felt very scared, sad, and an almost paralyzing fear.The last thing I felt was joy or any happiness understandably.
Cancer is a huge problem; someone is diagnosed with cancer in the United States about every 25 seconds. But I discovered through my personal experience that while no one is happy to have cancer, you can have cancer and still be happy. Cancer does not have to steal your joy! That’s the reason I started a program called “Cancer with JOY” and wrote a book with the same title.
I completely understand the doubtful reaction of some people when they hear those three words, “Cancer with Joy.” How can you have cancer and still have joy?As someone who’s been there, who faced stage IV cancer as a young adult, I know it can be difficult. But I found joy and happiness throughout the journey, and I want to help bring that possibility to others.
Now let’s be realistic. I don’t and you won’t face “cancer with joy” every single day.There are days I’m in pain, and it hurts.There are days I’m sad, angry, bitter when I think, I don’t have hair and hardly no one else I know has to deal with ALL of this at my age! But this is about how do you have more good days than bad because you’ve been introduced to this idea of facing “cancer with joy.” Understand your feelings are valid and need processing through talking with a friend, joining a support group, or journaling; Play a song that makes you happy; Make an effort to get physical exercise.
Still, it can be easy to get tired of trying to be positive. At that point I try to ask, where does facing cancer withOUT joy get you in the fight? Know there’s a better way. Laughter is the best medicine, and that’s why I think too many desperately need that “dose of JOY” to complement their medical treatments. Finding humor gave me more moments of happiness.
My favorite definition for the word attitude is “the way you choose to respond.” You choose your response to life’s obstacles! We all want to be happy, and choosing joy in spite of cancer can be possible. I and many others are living proof. That’s joyful news indeed!