July 19, 2013
Over the years I’ve shared about my journey from being diagnosed with cancer, the surgery, medical visits, treatment, follow-up visits, remission and more. It is a battle that I feel blessed to have won. I’ve been in remission a few years now. I haven’t blogged nearly as much as I used to. But another big event has taken place in my life and it only seems right to share about it here with my readers!
We all know life’s a beach. We can ride the wave or wipe out. Build a sand castle or fall into a whole in the sand. But you’ve got to get back up, shake the sand off and press on. Alright, you get the point. Back to one of the most amazing experiences of my life…
In early July, I went on our annual vacation to the beach with my family, fiance and step-daughter. While on vacation, we decided to scrap the idea of having a traditional wedding. Why spend months and months planning out details for a wedding? It was stressful, time-consuming and far from enjoyable. Instead we decided to get married during our vacation at the beach! Say what? Yep, that’s right. And in three days it all came together. We got the marriage license, flowers, officiant, photographer, rings and all! Everything seemed to fall into place. I even found my wedding dress 4 hours before I walked down the aisle. That in itself is a small miracle.
After surviving cancer, I know that life can change in an instant. In a way, the dark times in life seemed to make my wedding day brighter. It gave me the courage to embrace my fears, appreciate love and open my heart.
Our beach wedding was magical. When I think about it, I smile. <3
March 19, 2013
It has been way too long since i updated this blog. So here it goes...I went to another follow up appointment to go over the results of my blood work with my doctor. I've lost count of how many times I've done this routine over the years. Staying on top of these appointments is part of the process to make sure those cancer cells remain undetectable.
I'm still in the clear! I will never get tired of hearing that news. But this time there was an added nugget of hope. Instead of going back in 6 months, my doc said I come back in 12 months. Another milestone which warrants a brief happy dance. Woohoo!!! See you next year doc!
June 6, 2012
“Cancer is not a battle that we win or lose. It is not our fault or a sign of weakness. We are not responsible for our cancer outcomes. The crapshoot of cancer and recurrence can NOT be controlled. Celebrate yourself for each time you, despite all the trauma of cancer, treatment, and the mindfuck of “survivorship”, choose to love, live, lust, laugh… We are not a success story based on our cancer progression or not. We succeed when we are courageous enough to keep walking forward even with missing parts, severe pain, addled brains, and broken hearts.” ~Dr. Erica D. Bernstein
These profound words by Erica Bernstein really hit home with me. I’ve been in remission for over three years. The more time that goes by, the less I think about cancer. But I will never forget what the journey was like. Whether it’s a cancer survivor’s story on the news or hearing about a friend newly diagnosed, I seem to be reminded quite often of what it was like. Yesterday, I was with a friend who just found out that she had cancer. She was so scared and cried as she talked about her fears. I got chills as she shared about it. Her battle is just beginning. She will know more about it tomorrow. I have been keeping her in my prayers.
Listening to her took me back to that initial fear and racing thoughts I had when the doctor told me that my tumor was malignant. I didn’t know how to process the words. I couldn’t believe it. But deep down, I had a sense of serenity and I knew that I would survive. I connected with that power. I re-discovered my courage and strength. I kept walking forward. There were times when I wanted to wave the white flag and give up, but I kept walking forward. Through the doctors appointments, treatment, medicine, tears, nausea, depression, physical weakness, and more, I got to the other side.
Cancer changed the direction of my life. I am grateful for the experience because it led me to where I am today. It made me aware of how strong of a woman I am. It gave me a chance to get in touch once again with what matters in life. And I hope that my friend finds the gifts that I found. I pray that she connects with her strength and is courageous enough to keep walking forward.
January 1, 2012
As a cancer survivor, it would be nice to hear people wish one another a “Healthy” New Year instead of the common “Happy” New Year. Think about it. Happiness is a choice. I can wake up each day and set my intension on being happy and attracting positivity into my life.
When it comes to being healthy, I don’t have the power to be healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I can focus on being healthy. I can do things like watch what I eat, not smoke, exercise and more to stay healthy. But I could not control getting cancer. It was not a choice. What was a choice was my attitude towards it all. I made a choice to be a cancer survivor. I decided to fight the fight. I did what I had to do to beat it! You can to!!
May 2012 bring you HEALTH and HAPPINESS!
October 18, 2011
As soon as I read ”What Cancer Cannot Do” I felt my inner cancer SURVIVOR come out. We tend to give cancer a lot of power. It is part of the process to start blaming changes in our lives, relationships, outlook, attitude and choices on cancer. The real deal is that each one of us has the power and inner-strength to focus on what we CAN do and what cancer CANNOT do. It is a powerful exercise.
I started thinking about what else could be added to the list. I’m sharing it with all of my blog readers and asking you to add to the list as well. Here is my version:
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot turn my world to darkness.
It cannot make the beauty of nature disappear.
It cannot take over my being.
It cannot drain my creativity.
It cannot silence my voice.
It cannot prevent me from spreading awareness and hope.
It cannot come between my connection with a Higher Power.
It cannot stop me from laughing and smiling.
It cannot take my will power.
It cannot make me give up.
It cannot take away my joy.
It cannot change my purpose in life.
July 14, 2011
I’m sitting in the waiting room at Labcorp listening for my name to be called. Another “post-cancer follow-up” tour has begun. I’ve been doing this tour twice a year now for three years. The first stop on the tour is at Labcorp where I get my blood work done. This is the stop where I begin to notice the worry and thoughts about “what if” come into my mind. The second stop on the tour is at the radiologist’s office where I get a thyroid ultrasound. The tour ends at my endocrinologist’s office where we go over the results and go from there. (They just called my name. I need to go back to the next waiting room now!)
Ok, I’m back. I must say, that was an uplifting experience. The lab tech who drew my blood greeted me with a smile. She was upbeat and has a positive attitude. This is usually not the case. I noticed a box on her workstation of Crayon Bandages. I asked her what they were. She walked over, took out a red one, stuck it over the gauze on my arm and said, “Here you go. Let’s make this fun!”
As I left Labcorp, I thought about how attitude goes a long way in life. It is so easy to get caught back up in the cancer attitude and feel down when going back for medical treatment of follow-up procedures. I tend to forget that there is a choice. It doesn’t have to be a negative experience. It all starts with my attitude.
I kept the red crayon bandage and put it in a place where I would see if everyday. It will now serve as a reminder for me to check my attitude. It’s the little things like a red bandage that can deliver a big message and lesson in life.