Kris Carr speak. I honestly did not know who she was before this luncheon. I believe I am very lucky to have not heard of her, seeing as she is such a large figure in the world of cancer. My ignorance of her reflects my ignorance of the disease - I have never had a reason to research it and come across this amazing woman names Kris.
Her story is one of a heroine - girl gets cancer, girl vows to fight cancer, girl shares everything she learns with others, girl's info saves others' lives. Rinse and repeat. The entire morning was packed with emotion and wisdom, but one statement stood out to me: Don't Waste Your Cancer.
This statement at first shocked me. It was almost as if she was criticizing those who felt victimized by their cancer. But then I began to understand where she was coming from.
Since I cannot relate to a cancer diagnosis, I interpret "cancer" to be anything in your life you need to overcome. Maybe it is a physical disease. Maybe it is an abusive relationship. Maybe it is just crippling fear stopping you from moving forward. We all have our own "cancers" in our lives.
To me, this message of "Don't Waste Your Cancer" is life-changing. When something bad is thrown our way, it is so easy to play victim and wallow in self pity. It is so easy to sometimes get too tired to fight. To make excuses. To lean on this mountain as a crutch. But there is another way to look at things. When something bad happens, use it to learn. To grow. To overcome. Don't let it pass as a wasted opportunity.
My yoga teacher told us a story about this woman he ran into a few years ago. He had known her previously, but when he saw her on this day, she looked amazing. He told her as much - that she looked radiant and glowing and asked what she had been doing. She replied, "I got cancer and had to learn how to take care of myself." That is what is meant by not wasting your cancer. Use it to better yourself and as a wake up call to make changes in your life.
Kris Carr didn't waste her cancer - she made a documentary, wrote 3 books, started a health and wellness website and now travels around speaking to audiences like ours. She isn't a doctor or professor or even in the health industry. Instead, she took something as horrible as a cancer diagnosis and turned it into a chance to change her life. She learned everything she could about how the body works - what parts nutrition, mentality, physical exercise, and community play in her world and then used that knowledge to attack her cancer head-on. You don't have to become a New York Times Best Selling Author to feel like you are not wasting your cancer. You just have to make something positive out of it. It could be changing your eating habits, or motivating someone to exercise with you on a regular basis. It might even be just putting yourself out there with something that scares you. Let the "cancer" become your teacher. A forced chance to get out of your comfort zone and shake up your life a little bit.
Next time you find yourself wallowing over some huge obstacle put in your way, try to look at is as an opportunity instead. Don't Waste Your Cancer.