Reclaiming My Life
Eleven years ago, if you were diagnosed with a terminal disease, such as stage 4 lung cancer, it was a death sentence. To many, it has been.
It's depressing losing so many friends. Therefore, I had to step away from the lung cancer advocacy work I was once so passionate about. One can only take so much loss before totally isolating themselves in order to survive.
I put all my focus, energy, and determination into my daughter. I have been living for her. She has been everything to me, including my caretaker. But now it's time for her to go to college in a few days.
Navigating challenges and seeking new beginnings
I will be honest here and let you know that I only receive a small amount per month in SSDI. Anyone with a third-grade education will tell you that what I receive is virtually impossible to survive alone (pay rent, car, insurance, scans, groceries, etc.) and continue to live in a safe place.
So, now that we are living longer, the question is what to do. Should I re-enter the workforce and jeopardize my disability benefits?
When I first got cancer, I had to file for bankruptcy. But doing some research, I realized that there are programs that exist to help people with disabilities contribute to the workforce. My only fear is having another stroke with the amount of stress that I experience.
I have been taking my certification in bookkeeping. With half of the course left, I am making progress and having to learn to live for myself again. It's exactly what my daughter wants. She only wants me to be happy.
It's going to be hard without her around all of the time, making me laugh and cry. It's been a long time since I did any type of homework or study plan. So, it's going to take discipline.
I've got a few more things in the works, and I'm getting scans next week. So, depending on the outcome, I'm going to begin pretending lung cancer hasn't controlled my life for the past 11 years and move on. I can't get those years back, but I can help others not make the same mistake.
We all come into this world alone, and we all must face the reality that we will leave it alone as well. Put your faith in God, and He will set your paths straight. I haven't been writing as much because I've been so focused on my daughter, but I will now.
Regaining my control
I want to prove doctors don't know everything. After only given was given a year to live, it's been 11 years now, and I want to go back to work.
I'll be documenting my progress, and it will be somewhat like a rebirth. I have a blog called Keeping my Faith by Samantha Mixon that I will keep updated with pictures of this precious life we are given and all the adventures I look forward to.
Don't waste it worrying about what may happen, but live every day like the gift that it is. Do something epic.
As my doctor always said, "Worst case scenario, you walk out of the door and get hit by a bus and die." None of us will live forever, so after these 11 years of cancer, bankruptcy, three pulmonary embolisms, two recurrences, four strokes, and rehab to walk again, I'm not going to let cancer ruin anything else.
Of course, there will be days that I'm tired, and I will rest on those days and not feel bad about it. I've always felt like I have to be doing something, or people will think I'm lazy.
Screw what everyone else thinks. You have to be happy and comfortable with yourself, or it's so hard to love anyone else.
My first step is to love myself again and know that cancer doesn't define me. No matter what happens, keep my faith in the Lord, and I know that He knows what he's doing.
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