What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger …

I know that some people in my cancer-blogosphere (cancer bloggers that I follow) really hate the expression “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. For so many people who are diagnosed with cancer it is the furthest thing from the truth. The treatments for cancer can do anything but make you stronger. And yet, this song speaks to me.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over cause you’re gone

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone

The song itself talks about breaking up from a bad relationship. In some ways, I can visualize my breasts and the cancer that grew in them as that bad relationship. When I do that, then the lyrics really do speak to me. In addition, it has a really strong beat, so that it works really well as a workout song. It makes it easier for me to push myself when I’m trying to get some exercise.

If I look back on where I was when I was diagnosed, and compare to where I am now, in many ways I am stronger. I was strong and felt healthy when I was diagnosed, but now I am stronger. Before, I would never have considered hiking more than 4 miles (6 km). Now, I know that I can hike more than 10 miles in a day. I’m not quite back up to riding the distances I did pre-chemo, but I’m pretty close. I am stronger!

Am I better? I wouldn’t say that. I am still dealing with a lot of pain – mostly pain in my feet because of the neuropathy, which waxes and wanes (been waxing more than waning lately). It means that although I can walk 10 miles, I don’t do so without pain. It is a struggle, but I can do it, and it is something that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do.

One of the challenges I’m struggling with is the fear of getting stronger. I’m also afraid to lose weight. I’m afraid to feel well. I’m afraid that getting stronger, losing weight, and feeling well will be a signal that the cancer is back, because they were the things that happened just before my diagnosis. I lost about 20 pounds in the span of three weeks, and I was doing regular 50km bike rides, so I felt strong. Then I was diagnosed with cancer – turns out the sudden weight loss was not because of my exercise regime but rather the cancer. I need to learn to fight the fear head on. It needs to be OK for me to feel better. It needs to be OK for me to lose some weight. It needs to be OK for me to be stronger. It is no different than the superstitions that stopped me from saying I am cancer free.

And so, with that, I’ve added the Kelly Clarkson song to my exercise play list, cause what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger is a pretty good motto for me right now. It works for me, so I’m going to own it!

  • Becky

One Comment

  • I also can be pushed by the music I listen to. I have the 2 songs you wrote about on my workout playlists. You might also like: Titanium by David Guetta. I’m worth it, is fun. Keep holding on and Don’t stop believing by the Glee cast makes me smile when they come on during a run. Fireball has a fast beat. I enjoy many songs by Mumford and sons. I will wait, was a great song for uphills.
    I hope you enjoy some of these. I happen to love the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I was using that way before the song came out. Other sayings I say to myself are “this too shall pass”, “what choice do I have? Do (this) or go curl up in a ball in a corner”. When I get pissed I have to deal/do with (this), the word “motherfucker” is very gratifying to say whisper or write.
    Be strong,

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