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It's time to add yet another song to my cancer-killing soundtrack, and the hook on this one gets me a little misty. The chorus of female rapper Nicki Minaj's "Fly" comes pretty close to describing my attitude during this whole ten month ordeal and, as a result, is incredibly meaningful to me. Here are the lyrics:

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive 

I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise 

to fly 

to fly 

I never faltered in my goal of beating cancer and my attitude of "it can be done" -- not because I'm superhuman or tougher than everyone else. And not because I'm not aware of the statistics and the risks of various parts of my treatment plan. I maintained a fighting, eternally optimistic attitude while battling advanced stage cancer because it was the only way to survive. Giving up and allowing fear or doubt to creep in would have only empowered the disease. Believing in yourself and the fire you have within you to do anything, even the most improbable of things, empowers you over the disease.  

When I think back of the time immediately after my first surgery, when I was nursing my first surgery scar and a cancer-ridden body, I now realize that I had an unbelievable fight ahead of me with odds that weren't exactly stacked in my favor. I not only needed "the cancer" to stop growing...I needed my chemo to actively kill a serious amount of it. And then I needed a painstaking, radical surgery to remove every last bit of disease still living in my body. And then I needed to power through six more rounds of chemotherapy. These were all tall tasks, and failure at any point would have spelled serious trouble for me.

I truly believe that it was my attitude that helped carry me through all of it safely and soundly, into a reborn woman free of the cancer that threatened my life. Our will to live is a truly magnificent thing, a phenomenon that can't be measured in any clinical trials or documented in any medical journals. Our spirits -- our very souls -- help keep our bodies going even when things are looking bleak. I don't think there's anything more powerful that that...even cancer.

So for all my cancer warriors out there facing chemo or radiation or surgery, just remember: you came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive. You came to win, to survive, to prosper, to fly. 

And you will.


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