Michelle Kendall is an Organic Soup Kitchen soup client. She has shared her inspirational journey with us, and we would like to share it with our community.
1. How did you feel when you first were diagnosed with cancer?
My emotions swung like a wrecking ball from denial to despair and back. As the seriousness of my diagnosis sunk in, I was devastated. I never imagined that I could die from cancer in my 40’s. It has certainly been a challenge to keep my positive and sunny disposition, but I am committed to generating joy every day. When I make a good day, I win, and the cancer loses.
2. What inspired you to take the action(s) or steps towards healing?
I always thought I was on a healing life path. It feels like health veered away from me! Ovarian cancer is particularly insidious. The causes are not well-understood and the early symptoms are vague and subtle. By the time I was diagnosed, it had spread to the point of being “incurable”, so for me, healing is accepting where I am and not suffering from my situation.
3. What do you need from friends & family for emotional support?
I appreciate people who are making time for me. It is my experience that people want to help but don’t know what to do or say. I ask for specific things: “please don’t ask me how I am or about my treatments” or “please invite me to go for walks or lunch” or “I would love to have you come for dinner and play cards”. Asking for concrete help gets me the support I need.
4. How has this entire healing process changed your outlook on life?
I have always had a Buddhist outlook, and while that has not changed, I reflect on that more often now. Since my diagnosis, life feels so short and every moment is precious. I think about the world after I am gone and how I can leave it a little bit better. I ask myself: “what can I do today to be kind and generous?”
5. What advice would you share with others who found themselves battling cancer?
I remind myself that everyone dies; while that may sound depressing or morbid, it helps me. I hold that thought while simultaneously being positive. I may live a much shorter life than expected, but I am blessed in so many ways, so I find something to be grateful for every day.