I am often reminded of a popular saying: “It’s easier said than done.”
So many people like to use this saying when they are faced with a problem or other hardships. I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma at the age of 21. Just for context, most people are diagnosed at age 70 or older.
I remember bits and pieces of the day I found out, but there is one thing I remember the most. The doctor who treated me stood at the foot of my bed after my surgery and said, “Well, Ms. Cox, your surgery went well, but you have cancer. Mesothelioma to be exact. I’m sorry.” Then he left the room.
I am sure anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer has had different responses to the devastating news. For me, it took some time to comprehend it.
Let me remind you that I was in the recovery room because I had just exited my surgery. After he announced my diagnosis, I looked at the faces of my family members standing around my bed. I saw the fear and sadness on their faces as they stared at me to see my response. All I could think about was my five-month-old Caleb, and how I wanted to go home and see my baby.
Although it may take some time, it hits you out of nowhere. And that’s when I had my breakdown.
I let out the loudest scream ever. It was an outpour of my emotions: Thinking about the things that led up to that point, my husband Samuel (boyfriend at the time) and Caleb. It felt like everything came to the forefront and flashed before my eyes.
After the diagnosis comes the outpour of people reaching out and wanting to help. In a sense, you feel as if they are sorry for you, and that’s the only reason they are reaching out. But at the time, I wanted to be with my little family — Samuel, Caleb and me.
I needed time to digest things and get my mind prepared for the next steps. Samuel encouraged me the entire time. He would let me know I would get through this and reminded me daily of my faith.
Just in case you’re not familiar with the word “faith,” it means believing in something even if you don’t see it. I grasped on to my faith and didn’t let go.
As the days passed, my faith strengthened. I believed I would heal, be made whole again and that God would carry me through this with victory. That is the power of faith.
When you are hit with a cancer diagnosis or anything that causes tribulation, it’s easy to give in. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your emotions and question why this is happening to you.
Having faith determines your attitude as well. I remember my family asking me all the time if I was OK because of my positive attitude throughout the process. What they didn’t know was the peace I felt having found my faith.
It may be easier said than done, but you’ve got to find your faith and believe you will come through. Your life depends on it.
Tamron Cox-Little was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma when she was 21 years old. Now, the 10-year survivor is sharing her stories and experiences to support people recently diagnosed with the rare, asbestos-related cancer.