|photo by Deana|
Last summer I wrote the following piece after reflecting on the value of my life. Of course, then I didn’t realize what was to come. Having gone through cancer as a young adult just recently these words I wrote ring even more true now.
I never thought it would happen to me. Ever.
I guess everyone thinks that though. I mean theoretically I was healthy, I exercised and ate what I was supposed to. Then it happened. “You have cancer.”
As I dealt with the shock and sorrow of what had come I knew I had to keep going. I’ve always been a fighter. Born at 25 weeks gestation in 1992, being a fighter was me from the beginning. I knew I had to keep fighting. There wasn’t an option not to. For the babies, born too soon, and the ones taken too early I had to keep going. That was supposed to be me. Somehow, some way I made it before and I would make it again. What I wrote in the summer of 2014 is true now more than ever. Somehow I keep overcoming. Rising above each challenge I face and continuing on serving out my purpose here on earth.
This is what I wrote last summer and looking back to what I wrote, it helped propel me through these hard times. Here it is below:
I had someone ask me the other day, what I do when the days are tough and how I get through them, here’s my response:
Let’s go back to the beginning. I was born at 25 weeks gestation in April 1992. I’m not supposed to be here. I shouldn’t be here- but I am. Somehow I made it. Many people worked so hard, so I could live. This is crazy. I beat the odds. It scares me. Some days I wonder why- why me. Why did I make it? There must be a reason why. Many families with babies born too soon, aren’t so lucky, it makes me sad. The tattoo on my right wrist, reading, “you’ve been a fighter since the beginning keep fighting” and “Strength” on my left remind me to keep going and give everything I do my best shot. I’m a miracle. I have to live everyday like I own it, I have the power to make each day the best it can be. I’m just so lucky to be here. That’s all that matters. I want to give back to the world around me, just because I’m here. It’s truly overwhelming. It’s life changing. Knowing this, going forward I can do better. I’m a fighter, I’m just in awe. Needless to say, my life has direction. I’m ready to make a difference and keep going. I can’t shake this feeling of thankfulness or joy for what I have already had. I can’t wait to see where I’m off to next, reflecting on the fact that I’m alive, I really have no reason what so ever to complain. I’m alive. I don’t need anything else. I have everything I need.
I can’t wait to continue living out my purpose here on earth. After going through all that I have in my 23 years so far this proves to me that I can overcome everything and that I’m here for a reason. I better live my life in the best way possible because everything I do has an impact. I can make change and help others by just being me. By the numbers I shouldn’t be here time and time again but I make it and keep going.
Sometimes I need to remind myself of how far I’ve come, and simply how miraculous it is for me to be here. Really it is nothing short of a miracle. Some how I keep overcoming and keep going. For that I am blessed and honored. Let's keep living. It's a privilege not everyone is given.
Deana Ruston, a 23 year old from London, Ontario, Canada (about 2 hours from Toronto), studies grief and bereavement counselling at King's University College at Western University. She has an interest in pregnancy and infant loss, loves to bake, cook and volunteer. Born at 25 weeks gestation, she identifies as a fighter. She won't back down.