To really live:
I have had cancer twice — cervical, then lung. I am 42 years old. I meditate, eat right, I don’t smoke, I do pilates, I walk everywhere, I smile a lot — cancer was not part of the equation. Each time I was diagnosed with cancer I thought I was going to die.
When you go through chemo you’ve got toxic nerve gas running through your veins. I turned gray, lost every hair on my body and looked like a corpse.
When you become a survivor you either go back to where you came from or you choose to head in a new direction. Round one, went back. Round two, got out of Dodge.
I quit my job, got a divorce, sold the house, fell in love, started Juju Supply Co., cut my hair, got a new tattoo and travelled a lot. Cancer gave me the courage to start over.
Today I walk my kids to school even though they can walk themselves. I hug my friends all the time and touch their arms and stroke their hair. I buy marigolds whenever I see them. I eat dark chocolate for breakfast when I feel like it. I lay on the couch reading the paper in the middle of the day.
And, sometimes I cry at night for the fear of things coming in threes.
But, no matter what, I will never, not ever, live an inauthentic life again. So, thank you cancer, you enabled me to really live.
Casey Benjamin is the co-founder of Juju Supply Co. Juju Supply Co. celebrates the true origin of jewelry, objects of adornment that carry meaning and significance. Like the wedding ring, there’s power in the jewelry you wear every day—power to remind you of who you are and who you want to be, of where you’re going and where you’ve been, of the people you love, and the protection, tranquility, and support they offer.