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How A Wish Wall Gave Me More Hope

June 26th, 2017 |

by sedonawoman | Survivor: Colon and Rectal Cancer    Connect

Seven years ago, when I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer, my adult daughter gave me a gift: a cardboard-framed wish wall. I had never seen anything like it before, it was such a unique gift! It came stocked with colored slips of paper that I used to write down my future expectations. I rolled each wish up and inserted them in the honeycombed slots inside the framed board. My family and friends were invited to write down theirs for me to hold for safekeeping. I hung it up in my home to view every day in a special place, where it accumulated many hopes and desires throughout my cancer treatment, recovery and journey.

But all the wishes remained unread. During that period I was emotionally vulnerable, subject to feeling many ups and downs. I felt at times unsure about what my future would be… I felt like I was standing on a precipice and looking down into a dense fog. I was scared of what the wish wall might have revealed about the outcome of my fight, if I’m being very honest with myself. That doesn't mean I wasn't curious, though. Recently, when I was decluttering and reorganizing my home, I decided it was time to sate my curiosity and uncover what hopes had been written during my cancer fight those years ago.

I was surprised by how revealing those little pieces of paper came to be. I sat down with them at my kitchen table for a long, long time reflecting on where I was and where I've come since then. So many of my personal wishes have come true, while some are yet to manifest. One theme remained constant: Hope.

After my meditation, I realized I had learned a lot about what I had envisioned for my post-cancer life, what it would it be like and what I really valued during that time frame. I have chosen to share some of the many personal well 'wishes' that may inspire others in the midst of their own cancer journeys.

What My Loved Ones Wrote For Me

  • Sometimes G-d leads us down a path that is rocky so we can see all that he has laid before us.
  • Turtles – a symbol of wisdom, longevity & creation. Turtles are survivors, living so near the earth, moving slowly, aging gracefully. They symbolize groundedness … like you.
  • "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way" – A Zen belief of a paradoxical statement meant to promote enlightenment.
  • A grateful heart can enhance your health. Research shows that an attitude of gratitude promotes physical & emotional well-being & helps you cope better with stress.
  • Hope your day is as bright as you. Always shine.
  • I will you the strength to make it through this trying time.
  • "Every human being is the author I am a bright beam of light, attracting all the positive energy around me!
  • "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." – Albert Einstein
  • May you be blessed with many years of life & love!
  • "The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." – Helen Keller
  • "May all beings be peaceful… May all beings be happy… May all beings be free" – Theravada Buddhism, the metta prayer: a meditation that invites us to show loving kindness towards ourselves.
  • "Every human being is the author of his own health or disease." – Sivanada
  • "We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different & yet the same" – Anne Frank
  • Wishing strength & love from all the friends & family that love you so much.
  • Be happy. Be you. Be strong.
  • You are an inspiration to so many people. The courage you have to fight this battle is amazing. Stay strong & believe!
  • "You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you." – James Allen
  • When people say the sky's the limit – then why are there footprints on the moon!
  • Love. Just love.

What I Wrote To Myself

  • Calmly, yet diligently, I will survive this challenge one day at a time.
  • I wish to be cancer free! NED (No Evidence of Disease)
  • I wish to have a full head of hair & like what happens!
  • I want to remember family & friends, past present & future, and have lasting memories.
  • I want to be like the 'warrior' Renaissance woman in her home – pushing away the evil of cancer, telling it "You are not wanted here." I am a strong, resourceful and capable woman – my family needs my love & strength.
  • I hope to live a LONG life with excellent health & a wonderful future.

Reading through these well wishes and being able to reflect was beneficial in so many profound ways. This experience was uplifting and renewed my faith in human kindness. It was a vivid reminder of the journey that I went through with courage and strength that I garnered from others. The messages have universal meaning and significance for anyone undergoing a health crisis. I am grateful to have had this wish wall to store my dreams for how my future was going to unfold.

We all need hope.

What is one message that you were given during your cancer journey that resonated with you? Share in the comments below!

Photo featured above is courtesy of the author

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sedonawoman's picture
Helen H. Cohen, MA, CEG, is a certified professional life coach, as well as a Stage III Colon Cancer survivor who recently celebrated her seven year cancer-free mark. Her intention as a cancer survivorship life coach is to inspire other cancer survivors and their significant others who wish to move forward with their 'new' lives post cancer treatment. It is her belief that this transitional phase provides a great opportunity to reinvent, renew focus, reevaluate one's life's purpose and forge a new direction. From her own personal cancer journey, she has a changed perspective and a different outlook. To read more about her, please click here or to connect with her on IHadCancer under the name, sedonawoman.