I never was into Lions. I never really cared about them. They were fun to see when I would take the kids to the Zoo, but that was the extent of my excitement over lions. It’s funny how life altering events allow you to look at life differently; like putting on a new pair of glasses. Traumatic events change the way we perceive what we used to acknowledge as the normalcy of life. When our lives change, often so does our perspective, and the way we view life.
This happened to me. When I was diagnosed with brain cancer at 39 years old, I saw through a new pair of lenses. My understanding of the fragility of life changed; my appreciation of the moment, living in the now, became enhanced and got more pure; my love of family, friends and life got deeper. I was learning lessons; lessons that seemed so basic and easy to understand; lessons I should have been more understanding of prior to starting my journey with brain cancer. This was a gift I was being given. A new way to look at life. This was a gift that was mine; I owned it.
I was diagnosed in 2009; I noticed that the further cancer was in the rear view mirror, the harder it was to take this gift that cancer gave me and never give it back. Every 4 months I get an MRI/MRA to see if the cancer has grown back. That always enhances my perspective and appreciation of life. That is 1 day every 4 months. How do I maintain this opportunity to live life better and inspire others by sharing my story? I can never relinquish the lessons I have learned; how do I not allow cancer take them back?
The huge scar on my head is basically no longer visible. When I shave my head you can see it slightly, but when the hair grows back you can’t see it. It was amazing work from the Doctors, and everyone loves how hidden the scar is. Everyone but me. I wish I could see it all the time and every day. That way every time I got in a bad mood, every time I let some lesson I was gifted with fall by the wayside, I would see that scar and it would put me in check and bring me back to reality. I needed something that always allowed me to be aware of who I am and what I have been through.
Enter the lion. For some reason, I started to relate differently to lions as I went through this process; a process to never give back what I have learned. I continually send out quotes of fight and inspiration to friends, family, Cancer Warriors and Families of Cancer Warriors. This is my journey; cancer is just along for the ride. The look I see in a lions face says “I’m the king of the jungle. It’s my jungle. You want some, come get some.” I took to it. It made sense to me. I was a Lion! I related to the Lion!
Once I digested the similarity; the respect; the toughness of the lion, I needed to utilize it to never let me forget the lessons I have taken from MY JOURNEY with cancer. That is why I decided that my New Years Resolution would be to always maintain my perspective of appreciation, and never let cancer have that back. To remind me of that, I will be performing a cancer rite of pasage. I will be getting a tattoo of a lion on my left shoulder. I’m doing it for me! So everyday rather than seeing my scar, the king of the jungle will remind me what I have been through; where I am; and to never give back what I have EARNED!