I hope this finds you all in good health.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted. Happy belated New Year and early Spring!  

January 2017 marked 8 years since I went into remission from Papillary Thyroid Cancer. It changed the course of my life in many ways. 

When I was diagnosed with cancer I searched for information and could hardly find anything. It was one of the reasons I started this blog. I also wanted to share my journey and connect with other cancer survivors. It is comforting and healing to have other people to relate to when cancer comes into the picture. I also learned that cancer is cancer regardless of what “type” you have. We all go through a range of feelings and can lean on one another to get to the other side. 

For me, the biggest change through this journey was internally. Being diagnosed with cancer brought me closer to my Higher Power and gave me the chance to do some soul searching. I discovered how much it feeds my spirit to help others. 

With my new found courage, I became open to other career options that gave me a chance to fulfill my passion. I discovered coaching. It sounded like it was right up my alley. So I started the process to become a certified Life & Business Coach. I began working with clients in 2009 and got my ACC designation from the ICF in 2012. And I’ve been doing it ever since!

The fear and uncertainty of cancer pushed me beyond my comfort zone. When I’m faced with a challenge, I remind myself of this experience. It gives me motivation to overcome what comes my way. I am grateful for the experience. 

HOW HAS CANCER CHANGED YOU AND YOUR LIFE? 

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Hope and Light

“Some days you will be the light for others,…”

Going through the experience of surviving cancer has been a journey.  I had courage and strength come to me during the times I needed it most.  I remember friends and family telling me I was brave.  I didn’t question it.  I felt a connection to a power greater than myself and I knew I would be alright.  It gave others strength to push through whatever struggle they were confronted with as well.

“And some days you will need some light from them.”

It’s give and take.  I certainly had my fair share of days where I felt overcome by fear.  The negative thoughts about what if this and that danced around in my mind.  And that is when I leaned on my friends and family to help me stay in reality.  I

“As long as there is light, there is hope, and there is a way.”

No matter what, I always have hope.  The light might only be a flicker at times, but it’s always there.  All of us can get through it.  The goal is to brighten the light.  Feed it more hope, gratitude, and love.  There is a way!

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!

Cancer SURVIVOR - The Journey

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…

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“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.

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!

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.

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.