Practical advice and personal wisdom from a four-time cancer survivor.

Am I strong enough?

January 21, 2017 by Julie Negrin

Am I strong enough to carry other when I can barely carry myself?

Am I strong enough to stand up for love even though it will make me a recipient of hate?

Am I strong enough to fight when I can barely eat?

Am I strong enough?

I don’t know.

I don’t know if I can do this. If I can find the energy to strategize, organize, and resist.

I don’t know if I SHOULD use my precious energy to fight the demons in the world when I have to face so many of my own.

I don’t know what I’m capable of anymore.

This body is fragile and unfamiliar.

It teaches me something new about myself every day.

It sends me messages through pain.

It won’t let me forget, even for a little while, that I’m trapped inside of it.

A small, pale, freckled cage.

This is where I live.

My fingers still work. My voice is still loud. My brain, although still struggling with chemo brain and hormones, can still piece together sentences, ideas, concepts.

It still works well enough, just barely, to resist.

To not just join the revolution but help light it on fire.

To say I will not tolerate injustice.

To yell I will not hide in bed while the world is torn apart.

To holler I will not let my pain stop me from protecting my brothers and sisters.

To scream I WILL NOT STOP.



Until we are all safe.

Until my fellow patients can go to a doctor without going bankrupt.

Until my sisters and brothers can marry whoever they hell they want.

Until my allies of every color can wear hoodies down the street without being shot.

Until my companions from other countries no longer have walls to climb.

Until my comrades of different religions can chant their prayers from the rooftops.

Am I strong enough to fight? Not just today, in the streets, but every day when the work gets tedious?

And progress feels slow?

And paperwork seems endless?

And in-fighting gets tiresome?

Am I strong enough to persevere? To keep at it every day, every hour, every minute? Until the land is filled with light instead of darkness?

Am I strong enough?

No, I don’t think I’m strong enough at all.

I am weak. I am sick. I am fragile.

But. It. Does. Not. Matter.

It doesn’t matter if I am strong enough.

I will fight anyway. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

Until I have not one breath left inside me.

I will fight.


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  • Hi, my name is Julie Negrin. I’m a nutritionist that’s battled 4 cancers: melanoma, ovarian, colon, and endometrial cancer — the last 3 all at once — due to a genetic disorder called Lynch Syndrome. In the three years since I lost four organs, I've been slowly transforming to "disabled" after living a mostly able-bodied life. I've also had a bunch of other complications including not being able to eat solid foods.... Stick around if you're not afraid of the ugly bits. Much love,

    Much love,

    Julie Negrin

    About Julie & Cancer Teacher

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