Original title right? I figured I needed to introduce this term first and foremost. Why this title? What does it mean to me? Read on to find out! (Please!)
I’m not going to bore you with details and a long and dramatic blog post; but here is the start! In 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I have been extremely healthy and active my entire life so needless to say, it was a bit of a shocker. As far as family history, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is not a genetic disease and the cause of this particular cancer is unknown. This diagnosis also came after both of my parents had passed away over the previous two years before. Needless to say, it was a rough couple of years.
I give credit to my upbringing, family and friends that molded me into the person I am today. Of course, my diagnosis was such a blow. I’m the type of person that doesn’t want to ask for help or have people worrying about me. I have “oldest sibling” syndrome and I have a tendency to worry about everyone else first. I quickly had a mindset of “I don’t want people to worry about me”. I had two choices; either to stop fighting and give up or go through it however I possibly could.
My attitude for the most part was to laugh, at jokes, at my bald head, at the many pills I had to take, even at myself because that is how I chose to deal with it. I didn’t know how else to get through it. From looking at the bright side of things (I don’t have any weird spots on my bald head!) I was able to get through these times as best as I could. All of these doctors, treatments, experiences were all new for me.
Laugh always came about because of these reasons – Laughing at myself, laughing at life, laughing at my best made plans, etc. “Laughter is the best medicine” after all. Life sucks sometimes; but you CHOOSE how to react to life’s horrible situations. You may not have complete control over situations in life, but you have full control on how you handle and react to each situation, and how you react may be the key to how you get through your journey, regardless of what the situation might be.
I was 23 when I was first diagnosed; without my parents and without any assistance. I barely knew how to live on my own, let alone how insurance works and what all of these treatments were going to be. I was barely an adult. Since then, I have had another bout with cancer and how I CHOSE to accept my fate and accept the journey was beneficial to me in the long run. Mindset is everything! Being a young adult in a situation like this has inspired me to help those who are just like me. I don’t mean only having a cancer diagnosis, but losing parents at a young age or any kind of early adult trauma. “Laugh always” keeps coming back in my life and now I intend on keeping in the forefront.
I hear words like “you’re inspiring”, “your attitude is great”, “I could never do what you did”. I never set out to be any of those things and at the end of the day I feel like I went through this journey as anyone else would have. I have been told I could write a book about my life and my experiences. These things may not be what is in store for me, but I do believe that my journey can help people and help them get through tough times. If anything, my journey would be worth it if I am able to help one person.
My goal for this blog is to create a space to reflect on positivity, on life changing events and stories of hope. I have some big goals down the road, but what is the forefront in my mind is wanting to give hope to someone or give support to someone who needs it. There are so many people who need the “Laugh always” attitude or even just a daily pick me up. I want to create that space.
So I welcome you to my “laugh always” space. I hope you follow along and are excited for what I have in store.