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Cancer: We didn't deserve this

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brandie deserving blog post.JPGBy Brandie Sellers

A constant theme in my brain and body for the past several months is the struggle to figure out how to be a "regular" person after cancer treatment

It feels like people expect me to be "normal" now that I'm out of cancer treatment. I expect that of myself, too.  

By and large, people have stopped asking how I am and if I needed help, and moved on with their lives. Yet, I feel a bit stuck.

Have we earned this?
All of this brings me around to the idea of deserving. I grew up with the idea of deserving from my grandmother. She does one good deed a day so she can get into heaven. 

My mom always bought extra fries at the drive-through because we deserve it. 

We're taught that if we work hard we'll have nice things. If we go to college, we'll get great jobs. 

We deserve those things because we've earned them. But have we really? 

Do we need to earn anything? What if we get all the value we need just by being born and don't have to prove or earn a thing?

Reaching this moment
This brings me to catsup, also known as ketchup. A good friend uses the following analogy for religion and spirituality. 

There are many brands of catsup at the store. But they're all catsup. 

Most religious traditions point to a divine being. And, no matter which catsup you eat -- no matter how you think -- we all came to be at this exact moment in time. It's pretty remarkable. 

I'm astounded when I think that I'm here today because of a sperm and an egg - the smallest and largest human cells, respectively - coming together. I did nothing to earn this moment.

Why the deserving story isn't true
If that deserving story were true, nobody would get cancer in the first place. Maybe bad people would, but not children, dads, moms and twenty year olds. 

Not people who are doing amazing things in the world, or people who are just living quiet lives. 

Nobody said I deserve to live a pain-free life. We all have our pain and our interruptions, bumps and rewinds and fast-forwards. 

"I'm here to shine my light"
I don't notice the pain so much if I drop the idea of deserving and the expectation that I can live like a "normal" 39-year-old and instead focus on what's still lovely in my life: the curl that my son Isaiah's hair makes at his temple, the way I'm shocked to see a young woman when I look at my daughter, Grace, or the way my other son, Caleb, looks at me with those enveloping eyes. 

I'm going to keep looking for the good parts and sharing my story because I'm sure of this one thing: I'm here to shine my light.

Brandie Sellers teaches yoga, meditation, nutrition and cooking. She paints, writes, runs and plays with her children. She is a divorcee and two-time breast cancer survivor who's undergone a double mastectomy.


Brandie is crazy about her three children, and is blessed with a slew of sister friends who pick her up when she's down, keep her honest with herself when she's full of it, and make her laugh until she cries. Follow her at simplelifeyoga.com.

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