Cancer made me realize that I needed to not take any day for granted to appreciate the little things in life - not just look forward to big moments.
I was getting back into shape after I took years off of working out and being healthy. I was a former college football player and after I got hurt, I let my body go, enjoyed college, and drank way too much. The start of 2015, I was getting in shape started a new position at my job. I was finally getting my life in order. I ignored symptoms for months. I put it off as a pulled muscle and ulcer but I dealt with abdominal pain, massive weight loss, bathroom issues, and fatigue. Finally my mom made me go to the doctor.
When I got my diagnosis, I was numb. I did not know how to process this. I was able to tell my friends and family, but it didn't sink in for a couple days - and then I felt alone and empty and scared to death. I didn't have to advocate for myself, I was in such bad shape everyone knew something was wrong. My treatment was rough and I tried to take it all on myself, but movies and TV shows were my escape for those first 12 rounds, and trying to hang out with friends when I could.
When the cancer came back and I found that I was going to be on treatment for the rest of my life, it sent me into some very, very dark depression and struggles. It's been a battle ever since to keep my mental health in a positive light. I use reading and just things I love is a ways to escape for a little bit of time each day and that really helps, along with going to a professional therapist and being able to talk through my emotional state. Also, becoming an advocate has gave me a purpose and a kind of direction - I feel like I'm doing something good, and that helps me get through my treatments. My cancer journey is ongoing. It is stable right now, but I'm still on treatments. I feel I'm in a good spot but I know I still have a long way ahead of me. Hopefully I'll have a very long life, but I just want to keep being an advocate and showing the true and raw and real side of life with cancer.
Learn more about JJ and his work with Fight Colorectal Cancer here:
Cancer changed my life completely. I focus on the positivities of living each day and resilience in life.
Cancer put me on the path of what I was born to do: help others going through a traumatic experience. I help survivors understand the importance of health and discover a new version of themselves that can accomplish what their soul wants to in this lifetime.