Design Your Life
Stage 4 Cancer Isn’t Stopping This Traveler From Seeing The World
By DeAnna Taylor
Deborah Huddleston was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in February 2017. Since then, the Atlanta native has had two major surgeries and three separate rounds of chemotherapy. Although she is still undergoing chemo and fighting every day, Deborah has made it her mission to see the world and live her life to the fullest.
We had the chance to speak with Deborah about her amazing outlook on life.
Travel Noire: Can you walk us through your thought process after finding out your diagnosis?
Deborah: When I was diagnosed, I was shocked. I never thought I would hear my name mentioned in the same sentence as cancer, but I was never devastated. I kept hope and felt that God had a purpose for me. I just knew that I had to stay positive. I have a 21-year old daughter, and I needed to live for her. Some days are a struggle to wake up and keep going, but I still live life and even travel.
TN: Where have you been since your diagnosis?
Deborah: Since my diagnosis, I have been to Alaska, Hawaii, Jamaica, Thailand, Dallas, Arkansas, Michigan. I’m actually flying out to Dallas this evening.
TN: How do you stay uplifted despite all that you are going through?
Deborah: I believe that God is calling me to be closer to him and rely on him more than I had been. I pray to him every day, all day. I talk to him more now than I ever have in my 48 years on this earth. I just ask him to keep me. It is tough. I don’t wake up everyday happy-go-lucky. I still have to get up, work, pay my bills, show my daughter that we don’t stop until we stop. I have a grandson now who is 10 months old. I believe that God sent him here to give me another reason to live.
TN: What advice or tips can you give to anyone else dealing with an illness, mental or physical, who may feel that they can’t get out and experience life anymore?
Deborah: I feel that every day that we wake up, sick or not, is a chance to live life. We are not promised tomorrow. So every day that you wake up, you still have to live like “I only get one chance, one shot at this.” If you told me right now “girl pack your bags, we’re going to wherever,” my bag will be packed. I know that I have to live my best life today and I can’t put it off because tomorrow is just not promised.
I get so much energy from traveling, from seeing different things, from meeting new people, from living life. When I’m home and I don’t do anything, that brings sadness. It’s just you and that’s not what we’re meant to do. Please get up and travel. Even if you don’t get on a plane, get in a car and drive, get on a bus and ride, get on a train, just go somewhere for the first time. Don’t just stay at home. Get out. Motivate yourself. You will feel better, you will be energized, and it will help you live longer.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.