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New Perspectives

by Andrew WilliamsSurvivor, Brain TumorMarch 1, 2021View more posts from Andrew Williams

We are all given one chance at life, but a select few are given two.

I was very blessed to be one of those few…To me, life is a journey to discover who you are, what your purpose is and how can you serve others. Many have not realized this yet. You see, there are two days in life that are guaranteed; the day you’ve arrived and the day you leave.

However, the most important time in life are in between those days. We experience our individual realities and journeys looking at daily happenings as good luck and bad luck. I can’t say I have or share the same mindset about luck, but I do see and translate it in the sense that good luck = blessings and bad luck = challenges. Everything in life happens to teach us something; to grow; to help others or reveal new perspectives.

Have you ever been struggling to find that new door to walk through? The door that will lead you to the next milestone? I’m sure we all have been there but what if you thought about it like this: The door you may be searching for is not in front of you, because it is you. Sometimes we are the door for another person to direct them to a fruitful path which may or may not open a door for us in the future. It is not known to be widely accepted yet, but honestly this mentality of serving without receiving is the best way I know how to live.

When you give to receive you are not giving; you’re trading. But when you give from the heart without expectation, you’re allowing life the opportunity to be rewarding.

Speaking of luck and mindset, I had my blessings and challenges this year like we all have, but here is how I was given my purpose and found my door. This past year I was initially diagnosed with brain cancer. I was told there would be certain ways I would have to live my life and a certain expectancy on how long I would live. With being told this, I had an immediate choice to make. I either let my diagnosis be accepted and let it defeat me or choose to remain empowered and make my life the way I want it.

The point of this is to let you know that our lives, our stories and thoughts are what make us unique. What is a name on a sheet of paper to a person you’ve never met or heard of? Nothing but letters written in ink right? However, what happens when you see a name and you know that person or have read their story? A surge of thoughts, emotions and associations come through in your mind. That is legacy, power and what life is about. All in all we are a story; a memory that someone will remember or forget at the end of our stay on Earth.

When I was diagnosed, I kept my focus on the bigger picture, the blessings I’m grateful for, my faith and how I needed to serve and change my life. I believe there are many things in life we go through that cause us pain, uncertainty and strife. These things in my eyes are potential powerhouses to move forward and get our life story back on track. When you experienced a painful time of the past, do you remember how weak, defeated and alone you felt? What about times when you were exuberant, joyful and couldn’t stop laughing or smiling? Do you remember the energy you felt or lacked? The sense of vulnerability or invincibility? This is the power I was referring too.

We have the ability to turn pain and sadness into powerful purpose and motivation to get us to joy, success and happiness. It’s all about our mindset and vision. Take time to think about this and know that there are always decisions in situations which lead us to actions. Every action has a consequence (whether positive or negative), but we learn from it. To bring it all together; I told my doctor that I believe he is a gifted man at his profession and will surely help me, but he is not me nor my creator, so I cannot take his word for my diagnosis and life expectancy.

Upon waking from my surgery, he was by my side. He calmly told me he had tested my tumor and it was benign. I smiled and closed my eyes. Life can be unpredictable in so many ways but the key is to stay strong, have faith and don’t give up the power of your story. Write it on your terms and hold fast because in the end, it’s not about how long you’ve lived, but how you’ve lived. Find something to be grateful for everyday of your life and give thanks every morning!

Because simply, it is about the good we’ve done, the friends we’ve made and the love we’ve shared along the way, which is how we’ll be remembered.

Andrew Williams

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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