In this interview, I sat down with Noa Muysoms, Muco patient and lymphoma survivor, to discuss her past, present and future together. Noa is one of the strongest, most punishing young women I have ever met and the perfect example of someone who has weathered storms but has come out of them incredibly strong. Having been physically debilitated by Mucoviscidosis, having had a lung transplant and then surviving cancer, she is a source of life force and wisdom.
More specifically, this interview shows you how incredibly important and powerful our mind is, and that even the darkest of illnesses can be overcome through perseverance, hope, and an ability to stay positive. Noa is someone who can teach us all a tremendous amount about how to embrace our obstacles, how to then grow from them, and how to take responsibility for our own lives to heal from trauma.
- Day Noa, tell briefly who you are and what you do
I am Noa, I am 23 years old, was born with the chronic and hereditary disease Mucoviscidosis, and I am a professional entrepreneur in network marketing. This basically means that I am part of a team on an international level that helps people build their plan B. This plan B is in addition to their plan A because plan A is starting to fall apart, and so we offer a buffer function to get people to develop themselves on a larger level and in turn be able to help other people.
- What is the biggest challenge you have faced mentally and physically in your life?
Mentally-emotionally, this was the fact that at some point you become so stagnant because of your illness, Muco then, that you just can't move forward with your life. Because you become so physically exhausted, it's hard to start investing yourself in things long-term. I also couldn't really play sports or go out, and so with Muco it was especially harder mentally than physically.
Fysiek gezien was de kanker het zwaarst. Toen ik nog niet getransplanteerd was met Muco, had ik nog geen pijn maar eerder ongemak omdat ik niet kon ademen of moe was en geen kracht had. Puur over pijn gesproken waren die paar maanden dat ik lymfeklierkanker had het allerzwaarste omdat ik gewoon non-stop pijn had door de chemo. Dus ik zou zeggen dat Muco mentaal het zwaarste was en de kanker fysiek door de pijn.
- How have you found within yourself the strength to deal with your mental and physical challenges?
Well, Muco you have from infancy and so you have to learn to live with Muco, without 'Muco living you' and find a way to not let it dominate your life therefore. Then a lot of people came my way who were very emotionally smart. They taught me to see my process as a kind of life lesson and to draw strength from that life lesson in order to motivate and inspire others. So instead of looking at my body full of disappointment from the fatigue, scarring and swelling of my belly, I learned to embrace a different way of self-love by connecting with my emotions and following my intuition. In doing so, I learned to turn those negative situations into something positive and to stop seeing my disability as a limitation, but something that allows me to help others.
And then of course I also had my dream wall, a wall I hung full of everything I still wanted to do and achieve and then looked at it every day thinking, "it's not done yet". This gave me the motivation each time to keep going and keep me positive.
- How are you now?
The ironic thing is that this year has already been a fantastic year for me. My lung transplant was a success and I overcame my cancer, so am now just healthy for the first time in my life. Something that does feel very strange is that for the first time ever I have to focus on "living". I've always focused on 'surviving', and now for the first time I really have to learn to live. I find that I recognize a lot of old patterns back and that my habits are still hugely in the past. So it was confronting to see how I hadn't quite closed that mental door yet. The physical did and I am healthy again, but mentally there is still some work to do. It is especially very weird to rediscover myself in a different way, but of course therein lies the exciting part again because I am still learning a lot. I am learning that I have to stay in the here and now with my focus because this is where it all happens. The actions you are doing now will get you where you want to be. Your life is your responsibility so just start living it. Don't think about it, just do it. We set ourselves so many limits and fears but we need to release the handbrake because in doing so we are only holding ourselves back from all the beauty that is out there.
- What was the darkest moment you ever experienced?
The darkest moment was actually when I was cured of my cancer but didn't know it yet. My doctor came to tell me after my third chemo that we needed to do another pet scan to check if there was anything left and if maybe we should start a fourth chemo. After that third chemo, however, I was so spent, so tired and exhausted that there was nothing left in me. My soul was sitting in the corner of the room watching me but I was no longer experiencing any emotions myself. I could do no more and knew that if there was a fourth chemo, it was no longer necessary for me, that it had been enough. I had had a beautiful life and experienced wonderful things, but a fourth chemo was no longer possible for me. That was the darkest thing for me. Not the pain, but the feeling that I was completely empty inside and that nothing mattered anymore. When the doctor finally came to tell me after a few days in this state that everything was gone, I experienced the biggest rollercoaster of emotions and all the feelings came back. The days before that moment were the most horrible and I have never been so close to giving up mentally.
- What was the best, brightest moment you've ever experienced?
When I was 16 I had received a present for my birthday to do a double jump. When I was flying in the air, it was the highest point of freedom for me, of letting go. This was such an incredible highlight for me because I thought, "After everything I've been through, I'm doing it anyway." I was so incredibly emotional, so grateful and so happy, that this is really a moment that has stayed with me forever.
- How have you changed as a person after your experiences?
I used to just go through life and feel okay despite my illness. Now, having been on pause for so long and experiencing such a shocking change overnight by suddenly being diagnosed with cancer, everything is different. What I've learned from that is that everything can change suddenly and that's why now I think every day, 'did I get everything out of this day?' Did I enjoy the little things? Did I do something right? Did I smile at the people who passed by? Did I express my gratitude?
I have also become tremendously strong mentally by having discovered the law of attraction and by realizing the importance of positive thinking and gratitude. I just go for it now and have become much stronger mentally-emotionally.
- If you could pick 1 life lesson, what would it be?
My life is my responsibility and I decide what happens in it. I decide if something lets me down, I decide if something affects me and I decide if I take an opportunity with both hands or not. This is what I have learned most of all: how important it is to take responsibility for our own lives and not to put the blame on others because otherwise you will remain a victim of what happens to you. Taking responsibility is healing.
- What do you want to say to people who are currently struggling and stuck?
It's important to put yourself out there somewhere vulnerable and talk to someone. Vulnerability is a strength and this can help you enormously. I also learned from my mom that at a time when things are down and everything is going against you, you have to be open to other things and dare to crawl out of your comfort zone to look at things in a different way. By opening yourself up to other things and taking action, the universe recognizes that you are looking for help and is going to send you the right things on your path to get out of your challenges and grow from them. So I would say open up, listen to the people who come your way, and follow your gut.
- What does your future look like, what is your purpose in life?
My goal is to motivate and help people who are physically or mentally challenged to make something of themselves, despite the society they live in telling them they cannot. I want to teach people to get the most out of themselves based on what they do have, whether they are in a wheelchair or have a disability or not. Often people underestimate what these people can achieve and this causes them to doubt themselves. I want to teach these people how they can be protagonists in their own story, capitalize on their 'being' and be successful by getting the maximum out of their possibilities.
Noa is actief op YouTube en Instagram als Noa Muysoms en doet ook hier haar best om zo veel mogelijk mensen te inspireren en motiveren, dus geef haar zeker eens een kijkje en bedankt voor het lezen!