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As I write this post, I’m challenged as I think about the recent, devastating passing of all-time sports hero, Kobe Bryant. The news that pulsated every television channel last Sunday was heartfelt and very sad. As my family, along with many other fans around the world, sat by the tv, I thought about how news of death triggers my own emotions about life and death.

My feelings about life and death

The word cancer is damning at all levels because it opens up the discussion of whether I might die from this horrid thing. I’ve written before how I had one hard cry early on after my diagnosis that included dying, God, and why me in the same sentence. What I can say is that 11 years after my myeloma diagnosis, though the word cancer still holds strong in my mind, it does not stop me from dreaming, doing, and living.

My mantra to live life until the wheels fall off is not an understatement. It’s unfortunate this is the card we were dealt, but sometimes, one can look and actually see someone else’s situation that may be more challengings than our own mess. One might wonder, “Now, how can me having cancer be of less importance than what someone else has going on”? The answer comes down to where you are in your life and if you can see things from a different perspective. It’s about growth as an individual and being open to reflections along this journey.

Moving forward despite blood cancer

I know when we hear that someone has passed away, especially in this blood cancer community, we can’t help but wonder when and how. Let’s face it, many of us put up a big curtain and curtail those emotions and fears about death. My trigger is always during the holidays. My mind drifts to thoughts of, “Will this be my last year on this earth?” The thoughts can be morbid, so this is why it is very necessary to keep moving forward in our script of life. We mustn’t stop doing what we want to do and learning what we need to learn. Our part in humanity is to keep doing all of those things and living despite a body rocked with issues. I believe that somewhere in this mess there’s a lesson to be learned.

Facing the unknown

No one really knows when our final day will show its face. For some, it may be sooner than later, or vice versa. Despite it all, I continue to accomplish as much as I can because I do know this for sure: Tomorrow is not promised for any of us, so how we live, grow, and learn in this moment is important. A friend posted a fitting quote from Kobe Bryant – something to consider as we move forward in figuring out our own situation.

“It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you- or don’t so don’t take it lightly.” Kobe Bryant1

I will end this by saying… Stay encouraged, do, and live till the wheels fall off, my squad.2

Rest in heaven

Kobe Bryant
Gianna Bryant
John Altobelli
Keri Altobelli
Alyssa Altobelli
Sarah Chester
Payton Chester
Christina Mauser
Ara Zobayan

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Kobe's Lasting Impact: 20 of Kobe Bryant's best quotes. NBA. Available at
  2. All 9 victims in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash have been identified. KHOU 11. Available at


  • Ann Harper moderator
    2 weeks ago

    @yolandabrunson-sarrabo your post is something I think about occasionally. I have many aspirations, but I know my cancer is growing. So do I stop or keep living. I choose to move on and keep living but then other times I wonder if it is worth all the hard work. For now I’m going to “live until the wheels fall off” Thank you for this post.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Keep at it Ann! wishing you the very best!

  • Susan Gonsalves moderator
    3 weeks ago

    @yolandabrunson-sarrabo Everything is so true. When I was initially diagnosed, that Christmas I put up a tree and told everyone it would be the last holiday I had. Five years later, I’m still putting up trees and decorations because you never know. No one knows how and when we’ll face death. Meanwhile, just keep plugging along doing the best we can…Susan

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    @susanmae there you go! We hope and await many more birthdays and holidays. Expect and appreciate all of our highest expectations… many times they are fulfilled. Keep plugging. Best!

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    3 weeks ago

    @yolandabrunson-sarrabo Always full of love and compassion, your writing is. It’s why I like it. It’s a fitting piece considering what happened and the emotions that it triggers. Cancer is the great leveler, and it lay low anyone, and that means us too. It’s impossible not to think about when such a tragic and sudden death occurs – cancer is responsible for many sudden and tragic deaths even right here in our own community, so it stands to reason it brings up those feelings. Hopefully we can all learn a valuable lesson from it. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you, Dan.
    Yes, any positive lesson learned is a good thing. Sometimes, we don’t realize how connected we all really are. Keep at it!

  • Ramae Hamrin moderator
    3 weeks ago

    This is so true, Yolanda. I was pretty shaken when I heard about Kobe’s death, and it did trigger my own emotions as well. It is a reminder that, cancer or not, nothing is promised to us, not even the next minute. I love this Kobe quote you included here. It is so very true and something I try to remember. I also appreciate your own mantra to “live life until the wheels fall off.” Gonna borrow that one!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you! I think the sentiment for many is that when tragedy such as this hits the airways it affects many of us very strongly. Keep living strong and do the best you can. Your welcome to borrow that (wink).
    Wishing you the very best!

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