Art of Survivorship Speech

I was asked by Missouri Baptist to be a speaker for their Art of Survivorship night back in October 2015.

Here goes my first time to speak publicly about Cancer and how I feel about it.

Survivorship…Surviving…coping Liza’s way. I find myself jumping into the deep end, radical exposure to a reality of evil beyond comprehension hearing for the first time the “C” word. I am placed in a position of knowing and listening to things I did not want to know, things I never asked to know. But in these moments, I made a conscious choice to know and listen and to deal. Being able to make that choice means having a certain confidence and strength that comes with the experience of processing these unwanted realities. Strength and courage that I never knew I had in the depths of my soul.

It is important for me to have a solid awareness of my own subtle patterns of denial as well to find my coping skills. My goal is to go as close as I can tolerate without doing emotional harm to myself. Some examples of emotional harm would be: finding myself distracted or dissociated in the presence of friends or family; frequent intrusive thoughts and images of my own death; experiencing compassion fatigue; sensing a weakening of therapeutic boundaries; depression, or losing the joy of life.

In the beginning it was hard to find my way through this jungle of Cancer. To find myself pushing harder and harder to make the simple activities of the day. Pushing myself and making it one day at time, sunshine began to fill my days with hope. Brings me to the impulsive moment one day after one of my chemo days going to Branson. What the hell, lets go Zip-line! Making my father and sister go with me, facing this moment that terrified me ended up transforming me. Belted up, hands shaking… they opened the gate and off I went 300 feet off the ground flying over the top of the trees, I opened my arms and with everything in me letting go… Letting go of all my pain, depression, need to control and fear of dying… Gaining an even deeper sense of strength that I feel that one can only come from face to face with fear. I know with all my being that I can do this, no matter what I will survive!

To be a 40 year old facing this fight head on – taking on Stomach Cancer full force now. I have everything to live for, many more moments to cherish. To tell my story and to inspire others that “you got this”… We do not have to be afraid, we have a new “C” word and now it’s called CancerFightClub… Brings me to a quote that I once read and held onto – “Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amidst joy.” – Felicia Hemans