This is a follow up story to Tracey’s cancer journey. Read the full back story here.
“I’ve learned there are not only stages to cancer when it comes to creating a treatment plan and coming up with a prognosis. There are also stages when it comes to our own personal journey with cancer.
I want to share with you what I have learned on my journey. For me, and pretty much everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has had cancer, during treatment it is all about surviving. This is what I call the ‘survival stage,’ also known as stage 1. We are merely surviving it as we fight it. It seems like we don’t have time to really work out our thoughts and feelings. We are going from one doctor appointment to one test to another treatment. Cancer is tough, and let’s be honest, it SUCKS. Our world gets turned upside down, and life as we know it is forever changed.
Once treatments are over and we are cleared, we then move into to the ‘survived stage,’ also known as stage 2.
Those first 2 stages we have a very limited amount of control over, if any at all. We didn’t choose cancer. It chose us. We don’t get to say what or how long (for the most part) our treatment plan is. Cancer and the doctor come up with that.
But the third stage, the third stage we do have control over. And how dang empowering is that?! This is why I call myself a ‘cancer THRIVER,’ because that’s stage 3, the stage I am in now. I was in the ‘survived’ stage for so many years. Moving into the ‘THRIVER’ stage was a choice I had to make. One that didn’t come without a lot of intentional work and willingness to face some hard things.
I did it on my own time frame. I didn’t allow anyone or anything to rush me. I had to work through the trauma of cancer to get to this stage.
Everyone’s journey is unique in its own way, but one thing we all share are the 3 stages. But that third one is, and will always be, a choice.
Being a THRIVER is a mindset. My mindset around cancer is all about what I can learn from the experience. How can I use it to serve others? What can I TAKE from cancer? How can I feel empowered instead of powerless?
I am not cancer’s victim! And I don’t mean because I survived it. I mean I refuse to be its victim in mindset. Cancer did not take from me! I took from it. This is a mindset I had to develop.
Yes, I had to make some adjustments to my life because of it, but I do not label them as limitations. Because I refuse to say cancer gave me limitations. Because I refuse to be its victim.
I refused to allow cancer to beat me down and keep me there. Getting up was a choice.
I am all about creating stories which serve me. And not in a denial kind of way. I believe every experience starts off neutral, and I get to choose the meaning I allow it to have in my life.
No, I do NOT believe everything happens for a reason. But I do believe we can find purpose in everything that happens. Because that is empowering!!!
Sweet friend, cancer is a journey! But know, there is hope. Your time frame won’t look like anyone else’s, and that’s ok. You may be in the survival or survived stages shorter or longer than I was, and that’s OK. But know the third stage is always a choice, and it’s there waiting for you when you’re ready.
I’m rooting for you!!!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracey Ferrin, of Houston, Texas. Tracey’s book “Up Struggle” is available now here. Follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook and TikTok.Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Tracey here:
‘I wasn’t playing games. 4 weeks after meeting, he asked me to marry him! I said yes. Then, I tried to break it off.’: Single divorced mom of 2 gets engaged to man she met after 4 weeks, ‘He is worth the risk of another heart break’
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