“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” ~ A.A. Milne
In honor of National Winnie the Pooh Day, patient Quoron Walker reflects on his inspiring journey and shares what the famous A.A. Milne quote now means to him as a cancer survivor.
Many times, strength is something you don’t realize you have until it’s put to the test. I didn’t realize how strong, brave, or smart I was until I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at 19 years old.
I was in the prime of my life: studying Communications at the University of Hartford and was a budding singer/songwriter. When I was diagnosed it felt as though someone had snatched me from my existence. At the same time the world around me kept going, and seemed to be moving fast.
One of the toughest changes to accept was that many of those who I thought would be by my side as I fought cancer vanished. There were times when my spirit was very low and I was extremely lonely. I still had my mom, brother, uncle, grandmother, and my good friend Krystal to support me, so I never was truly alone.
I remember at one point my entire body was covered in blisters after a horrible reaction a chemo drug. The pain was excruciating and it looked even worse. One of the scariest moments during my year long treatment was the limb salvage surgery I had to remove and replace my my left femur where the cancer originated.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I made it. I continued chemotherapy while doing intensive physical therapy. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it.
The main thing that kept me going was my faith. God had been by my side through it all, and still is. I always saw myself on the other side of cancer being healed and continuing my life where I left off.
Many people I’ve come in contact with after I was diagnosed have said I was strong but I thought I was just doing what I had to do in order to live. I didn’t realize I was different until I sat back and thought about others who had lost their battles with cancer.
I learned that true bravery isn’t acting like everything’s okay and that nothing upsets you; it’s facing adversity in spite of your fears. True strength is getting up everyday knowing that there is something bigger than yourself that controls everything. And being smart is knowing all of this while being honest with yourself. It’s knowing that some days will be great, some may be horrible, but you make that day the best you can by making the best decisions you can in that moment.
After beating cancer twice, having several surgeries, and being on what felt like a roller coaster ride that knocked the wind out of me – I’m healed. I look like myself again and have accomplished so much in spite of my illness. I graduated with honors, found a job in my major, and continue to sing and perform. I learned about myself and I know Quoron. Now, whatever may come my way, I know I can handle it.
Photo Courtesy – Norman Oates/Norman Oates Photography