Fuck Cancer

Stone Fox Casey Benjamin — mother of two and Co-Founder of Juju Supply Co — beat cancer twice, then changed her life. Below, her ten commandments for living authentically.

I am a two-time cancer survivor. My first cancer came when I was 35 and my second in 2015  when I was 41. Cervical cancer then cervical cancer in my lung. Cancer was something that happened to old people. I eat the rainbow, I walk everywhere, I have two healthy kids — smiling at strangers is my thing. Cancer made me feel like I was dying. When I went through radiation and chemo my body ceased to be mine. I turned gray, l lost every hair on my body (except for what was saved with the excruciating magic of cold-capping) and looked like a corpse. The hypothesis was, if we inject her with toxic nerve gas, she will live — probably.  


When you survive cancer, you either go back to where you came from or you choose to head in a new direction. With round one, I went back — picked up right where I left off. Round two, I hit the road, cliches and all. I quit my job, got a divorce, sold my house, fell in love, launched Juju Supply Co., cut my hair short, got a new tattoo and travelled a lot. My biggest post-cancer-round-two-resolution? To never, ever live an inauthentic life again. Cancer gave me crazy courage.

 

The selfie on the left was taken after I sat through my first and last Soul Cycle class with one of my best friends. I cried from start to finish. Cold-capping saved 70% of the hair on my head — every other hair on my body fell off. This was a tough day.  The photo on the right is my chemo arm at Sloan Kettering. Nurses would always ask me to take off my Juju and I would always refuse. I am holding a smoky topaz crystal which draws out pain and toxins. Once I finished treatment, I got a heart tattoo on my chemo arm that reads: I feel great. 

How do I define an authentic life? These are the 10 commandments I now live by.

 

1. To be a good parent you have to be patient and practice mad empathy.
2. Feel sexy and have sex — it’s mind-blowingly important. To go without these      things is literally like disconnecting from the human race.
3. Whenever possible, don’t take the subway. Leave early and walk to your destination — choose light and trees over dark and dankness.
4. Eat food that makes you smile. In my case, dark chocolate almond bark show up at breakfast A LOT.
5. Cherish the people who show up for you and remove any and all expectations from the people who don’t. And, when you are with the people who do show, hug them and touch their arms and stroke their hair a lot.
6. Even though your kids say they’re fiiiiiine and don’t need you around, STAY CLOSE — walk them to school, hold their hands, open closed doors and sit on the end of their bed when they do their homework. Growing up is scary.
7. Wear meaningful totems and talismans packed with good juju — it’s like decking yourself out in super-charged motivational armor.
8. Leave your comfort zone and look at your life from over there. Whether it’s India, upstate, or your friend’s house a block away — it’s critical to get out and get perspective.
9. Keep fresh flowers around even in the dead of winter. Color has magical powers and will literally brighten your day.
10. Close your eyes for 20 minutes twice a day and be thankful you’re here.