No one chooses cancer but there is hope, silver linings and for some, remission and total recovery. I recently saw this add from the Young Survival Coalition, an organization dedicated to the critical issues affecting young women with breast cancer, and thought it applied to so much more than just cancer.
“You Don’t Know Strength until Strength is the Only Choice You Have.”
Strength breeds hope, awareness and inspiration. Vessa Fulton encompassed all of this during her journey with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Hearing about her as an outsider, I learned so much over the past 18 months. She kept the disease separate, it did not define her. She directed her energy towards the healing process for herself and others. She spread awareness about ovarian cancer, touched the doctors and nurses who met her and brought tremendous joy to the chemo patients by dressing up in a variety of costumes.
With her MBA from Wharton, Vessa started down the corporate path years ago but she was not happy and quit to become an amazing jazz singer. She took risks, made her dreams a reality and lived life on her terms. She was truly happy as she entered heaven last Saturday, October 13.
There was a poem I loved years ago and I often think of the words. I “Googled” it and as luck would have it, I found it. I now realize based on the year it was published, 1989, why it meant so much. My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a survivor, she is strong and she continues to live life to the fullest.
It was spring, But it was summer I wanted,
The warm days, And the great outdoors.
It was summer, But it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves, And the cool, dry air.
It was fall, But it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow, And the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter, But it was spring I wanted,
The warmth, And the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, But it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom, And the respect.
I was 20, But it was 30 I wanted,
To be mature, And sophisticated.
I was middle-aged, But it was 20 I wanted,
The youth, And the free spirit.
I was retired, But it was middle age I wanted,
The presence of mind, Without limitations.
My life was over.
But I never got what I wanted.
By Jason Lehman, a 14 year old boy wise beyond his years.
This was originally published in a Dear Abby column in the Chicago Tribune