When tough times hit, don’t let them define you

Joleene DesRosiers

Disease is not a death sentence. Being diagnosed with a disease doesn’t mean it’s all over for you. If anything, it’s an awakening to just how fragile life is and how abundant the goodness is within it. Life is what we make of it. At least that’s what breast cancer survivor Janet Rebeor, Oswego County, says. And it must be handled with as much humor as we can muster.

“After my diagnosis, I thought, what could I do? There I was, looking at a completely bald woman in the mirror and I thought, ‘Oh my, look at me!’ I had to laugh. Friends would tell me I had a great skull and I thought that was funny.”

So, each day, Janet decided to put her makeup on and get dressed. Once she  did, she began to see a different woman in the mirror.

“I didn’t see a bald person undergoing chemo. I just saw me,” she said. “I made it a point to look my best every day, despite my gleaming skull. It made me feel good and it made me feel normal.”

All too often, we consider ourselves abnormal if we don’t look like everyone else or conform to how others think we should. But Janet saw her plight as an opportunity to grow. This single shift in thought made her a warrior, and it’s what keeps her going today.

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“You have to hang in there. My husband and I could have said, ‘Oh, woe is us,’ and given up completely. But there is no victory in that. Overcoming my situation, that was victory. You struggle through the hard times and when it’s time and you’re ready, you stand up, dig in and fight. Hang on to your faith, no matter what it is. You’ve got to find the lighter side of cancer — or anything you’re going through — and take it from there.”

By abandoning negative thoughts, Janet focused on a good life and all of its frivolities. Her choice to grow in this way has enabled her to practice compassion and self-love with herself. Today she is the epitome of what she practices. She is love.

Life has no rules, just lots of curvy roads. Ride those curves with joyously. For Janet, it’s nearly as simple with these words she lives by: “If God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it.”

Joleene DesRosiers is a transformational speaker and freelance writer who lives in Pulaski. Contact her at joleene@joleenespeaks.com. Visit her at www.joleenespeaks.com.