Due to the COVID19 pandemic, 2020 proved to be one of the most stressful years for many in recent history as the new normal took a toll on the economy and forced many into their homes for extended periods. Arriel Bivens-Biggs of St. Louis, Missouri had many plans for the year but that didn’t include losing her house, moving back home with parents, having to cancel sold out engagements, clients stepping away from projects, her son nearly being sent to reform school after a fight and her son’s father nearly dying after being shot. How on earth did she survive it all?
“I refused to allow myself to be stressed out about things I have no control over. Being a two-time cancer survivor, I understand the impact stress has on your physical and mental health,” smiles Arriel. “Through God’s grace, I had to learn how to keep my stress levels down because it really is a life or death situation for me.”
When Arriel was 24, she won a battle with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. She went on to get married, have a family and author a book. She made a national name for her son, Mikey Wren who became known as the youngest vending machine owner in the USA at the time he established his company.
“Things were great,” recalls Arriel. “By the time Mikey was 10, he had a bestselling book and he was known as a young Black entrepreneur on the rise. We would drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Atlanta, Georgia once a month to keep up with his speaking engagements and book signings. We were truly on our way to building a legacy.”
The last thing Arriel expected in 2017 was to return from one of those business trips and feeling more fatigued than usual, and discover a lump on her breast. A visit to the doctor revealed she had stage three breast cancer.
“It was not hereditary,” she said. “The doctors concluded that the radiation I had from non-hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer treatments combined with the stress I was under triggered those cells which may have been dormant. But there I was at 35, with two young children and a husband and instead of thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to die’, I was thinking ‘I have all these plans to teach my children how to go off into the world without me, but I never planned to not be there to watch them get started’.”
Arriel set her mind to leaving a legacy for her children and to prepare them for potentially not having her in their lives as young adults.
“I had all this knowledge, I was teaching others how to start businesses and get to the next level but when you’re planning for that six-figure future, you don’t think about getting sick or that something can come and totally shift your focus and even funds,” said Arriel.
During this time, Arriel discovered three things which she credits to helping her get through. She calls it her Pink Print.
“The Pink Print” is my blueprint for overcoming,” she explains. “I stay positive, listen to the voice of God and then I trust the process. Cancer was not a death sentence when I learned I had it. It was certainly a reminder that staying on top of health is wealth and that something as simple as intentionally eliminating extra stress can make a difference. I must always focus on staying in a peaceful place, even with all that occurred in 2020.”
Last year was stressful. Staying in my peaceful place. i learned to eliminate extra stress. I have learned to realize what is important to me, to live for me and to leave a legacy behind for my family. I refuse to deal with unnecessary stress.”
For more information, visit www.arrielbiggs.com