She had over 30, 000 followers and her picture showed up in my feed. Instagram Girl was wearing a bra top and yoga pants and was taking a selfie from the side. I stopped scrolling to read under her photo. When I was done I realized, ‘Instagram Girl you need to meet the girl with cancer.’
Something about Instagram Girl reminded me of
my daughter-in-law Jazmin.
She was ultra-thin. I thought to myself, “Maybe she has cancer too?” I’ve learned not to assume people are thin on purpose. So, I decided to read up about her and came to the conclusion that she didn’t have cancer. She was quite proud of herself for recently losing weight. Instagram Girl was also trying to help others become ultra-thin like her. She looked to weigh about 100 lbs and was possibly 20 lbs underweight. But it’s hard to tell from a photo on social media.
Jazmin is 25 lbs lighter than her normal body weight right now. She doesn’t talk about it much or let her weight bother her. Jazmin has accepted that this is what comes with having stage 4 adrenal cancer. But if she had a roll to squeeze around her middle she’d probably be delighted! Recently she learned one of her pain medications causes muscle wasting. She decided she wanted to wean off that medication.
Jazmin’s goal is to be healthy and have a good quality of life. Ultra-thin was never her goal.
I thought about how Jazmin would gladly trade in her body with cancer for being overweight by 20-30 lbs.
Most of Jazmin’s weeks are filled with doctors appointments, pain management, home care visits and trying very hard to lead a normal life. Yet, she’s been an inspiration to many girls and women with her outlook on suffering and still finding joy amidst the pain. Jazmin believes God has a greater purpose behind her suffering. *Read her post, Totally Unfiltered: Who I am Today.
For now, I am enjoying life. I live day by day. Each day may be amazing or terrible but my husband, Eythan and I are enjoying every second that we have together now, just in case.Jazmin
Eythan and Jazmin have only been married a year and a half. They have lived in two apartments, a house, and just recently moved into another house. Jazmin also lived with us, her favourite inlaws, and also a family in Arizona during treatment. Her life has not been stable, organized or pretty.
This past year, Jazmin has helped plan a conference for women, spoken at a conference, modelled for a clothing company: Eddie Mira Clothing, painted her new house, planned a baby shower for her new niece, been an amazing wife, taken an online course, been on the radio sharing her story, and encouraged people with her cancer journey through blogging. Visit her site: Jazmin Unfiltered.
Jazmin has created a lot of meaning in her life, even though she can’t work and some weeks she’s in bed for the most part.
Margaret Niemczyk asked Jazmin to model for her clothing company, Eddie Mira Clothing because she wanted a young woman who would inspire others with her outlook on life. Margaret didn’t pick Jazmin because she was thin, she chose her because Jazmin has been a wonderful role model for other young women to look up to.
I thought of Instagram Girl and her priorities. I wondered what she could be doing to influence the world instead of trying to help girls get thin.
*pictured above, Jazmin and Kyle. Kyle has autism and Jazmin is the sweetest sister-in-law to him.
Watching Jazmin deal with terminal cancer has been incredibly uplifting. Sounds strange, I know. Most people fear this disease, and if they ever heard that word from their doctor’s lips, their world would come crashing down.
But Jazmin takes each day, one at a time. She’s asked her doctors not to give her a timeline, and not to tell her how much the tumours have grown in between CAT scans. She doesn’t want the results to affect her attitude or mindset of, “My life is in God’s hands and he determines my timeline.”
If she had accepted chemo, Jazmin had a 20% chance of living five more years. Jazmin’s family decided to forgo the chemo, so her quality of life could be good for the short time she had left. In just a few more months Jazmin will have outlived the prognosis.
Now each day is a miracle in itself.
Jazmin’s cancer will not be disappearing EVER unless she gets a miracle. There’s nothing the medical community can do to make it go away. But she cherishes each day as a gift and tries her best to keep living life with purpose and an unselfish heart. *I wrote another post, The Joys of Having Jazmin. You can read the ways in which Jazmin has touched other people’s lives.
Instagram Girl you need to meet the girl with cancer.
* Eythan and Jazmin holding their niece Alice. Jazmin helped her sister-in-law Charity through labour. She was a wonderful support to Charity and Dan.
Jazmin lives purposely. She has chosen to do things that are meaningful to her or those she loves.
I’ve seen Jazmin go to events when she was in pain because she knew it was important to someone she loves. Rarely, have I seen her live selfishly.
Jazmin generously gives of her time, encouragement and hospitality:
If you want someone to cheer you on when you are going to try something new or scary, you need Jazmin. When you are going to organize an event and can’t do it alone, you need Jazmin. If you are feeling hopeless about your situation, you need Jazmin. If you become really successful at something and want someone to jump up and down and celebrate with you, you need Jazmin.
Instagram Girl could impact the world in a profound way. She could help mom’s with nutrition for kids, or assist the elderly in eating better. She could lobby the government to feed children after school, whose family’s don’t provide dinner. Her talents could be used to make a huge impact on the people around her.
At the end of our life, we leave these bodies behind, and they no longer have value. To focus on getting them to a state where they are underweight seems meaningless.
What is your purpose in life? Do you believe it will change the world for the better? Ask yourself these questions:
What can I do to make the world a better place to live? Do I have talents or gifts that I can use to bring others happiness or joy? How can I leave behind a meaningful legacy people will remember?
*Bring an elderly person some flowers.
*Babysit for a new mom.
*Send a card to a single mother telling her she’s doing a good job.
*Shovel someone’s driveway.
*Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
*Open the door for someone ahead of you.
*Write a letter to a war
The list is endless to the happiness you can bring other people.
Allow your life-goals to be; kindness, compassion, serving, and also bringing joy to those around you.
In a world of thin-is-in lies; be the one who helps people realize life is about using our gifts purposefully, to make the world a more beautiful place to live.
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Jazmin truly does seem like an inspiring woman. However I feel like the positivity of this message could be spread without the negative feedback about Instagram Girl’s choices. “You shouldn’t try to be so thin because someone with cancer is thin and doesn’t have the choice.” Eating disorders are a documented mental illness, and even if she doesn’t have a mental illness, she’s entitled to wish to be thin (as women have done for years) without persecution. I’ve been having a similar problem where everytime I’m having a bad day, someone comments “It could be worse, you could have cancer!” This makes me feel like I’m not allowed to have bad days and that my feelings are invalid, and overall makes my mental health worse. Jazmin is an inspiration, but from what I’ve read I’m sure she would wish to build each other up rather than share her story by putting someone else down.
Thank you, Cheyanne for commenting. We truly value everyone’s perspective and opinions. I agree that each person’s problems seem important to them, and we want to acknowledge that people are hurting. My concern was the message Instagram Girl was sending to young women. Her call to women to be thin can be one that puts people in a dangerous situation. I would like to see her focus on helping women become healthy. Thank you, for stopping by and leaving a great comment 🙂