Ever since I found out I was ill, I looked up celebrities who dealt with or were currently dealing with cancer. I wanted to see how they dealt with the bad days, how they encouraged people, how they continued living their lives. Sometimes the stories had happy endings, sometimes, their endings meant a beautiful life was cut short. One of the lives I followed was Stuart Scott.
While I was never into sports, every person that I knew while growing up was watching ESPN, and they watched Stuart Scott. He made sports more entertaining for me, and I remembered his catch phrases like, “Boo-Yah!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow” and started adapting them into my own young kid lingo. When I found out that he himself was dealing with cancer, plus numerous recurrences, I decided to keep watching him, specifically his attitude and how he continued to live life. I needed someone to look up to in the times where I couldn’t deal with the pain, or the times where I couldn’t stop crying. It was extraordinarily difficult to proceed through my day-to-day life and pretend that I was okay. I didn’t want to be a worry, or a bother to my colleagues, friends, and family. There were days where I would feel so defeated or like I was not going to win.
In those times, I would do some reading on what Stuart Scott was up to and doing, so I could pull myself out of my funk. I wanted to emulate this man in his strength and attitude. He is an inspiration to anyone who is fighting cancer, in remission, or fearful of it coming back. In July, Stuart Scott made this statement at the ESPYS that I made my mantra,
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
Hearing these words from someone who was fighting so hard, and yet living life so well, it helped me to not stay in bed and cry all day after my official diagnosis. When I had to get multiple biopsies and procedures done, Stuart’s voice rang in my head. When I had to take the first weekend off from my show because of treatment, I watched videos of Stuart’s segments filmed while he was in the midst of some of his most intense fighting.
Even though my diagnosis was a long-anticipated one after years of dealing with abnormal test results, I still wasn’t prepared for the “C word” when it finally reared its ugly head. Shoot, I had even had a bout with skin cancer several years ago that was dealt with surgery. But, this time was different because it was further inside my body and treating it would be more invasive. When you’re making countless trips to multiple doctors and having multiple procedures done, PLUS being in so much pain, I started to feel less than human. There were countless times where I felt like I was losing myself, and losing control of my life. There were times where I realized that I didn’t have support from certain people in my life, but then I would be quickly reminded of the people who were there to support me, both physically and spiritually.
Thankfully, surgery has been my treatment so far. But should it ever come back and escalate to more aggressive treatments, I’ll be ready for it with boxing gloves on with Stuart’s story ringing in my head, and encouraging me to not only keep fighting, but continuing to LIVE.
Rest in peace, Stuart, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.