Today I am happy to make the first step in writing and sharing my thoughts on this page. Like many, I have found that writing down my experiences helps me to gather perspective and learn, while also giving me a way to look back on key moments that have made me who I am today.
The launch of my site comes at a unique time for me as just one week ago I was diagnosed with cancer — it took this life-changing news to kick some other goals into gear. When I began to share the news I realized what a lucky person I am to have so many caring friends and family surrounding me, so much so that in order for me to share my journey I needed an outlet that allowed me to connect in an easier, but still personal, way. After evaluating my options I decided that this diagnosis is not defining my life today; it is just another addition to life’s challenges, which we all face day-to-day. It will take time and attention, but it will not be who I am. I start today’s post to share with you not only my experience with cancer but also to start writing about all I ever wanted – living life to love hard, work hard and play hard. Cancer may begin to take up a portion of life but I will not let it invade the majority.
Knowing that, right now I must focus my time on working with my doctors as we put together a treatment plan. So how did this all start? On November 1st I woke up with an itch on my right breast which led me to locate a hard lump. After a few calls to my doctor and then reaching out to another doctor, I was seen by my new OB/GYN on Nov 7th. She then sent me to see a surgeon who got me ultrasounds, a mammogram and a biopsy all by the end of the day on the 9th. While this was a whirlwind I still had strong hope that we were just being cautious…I am only 34 for goodness sake! Since I told you the outcome at the beginning of my post you already know that when I received my results on Monday the 13th I was given the news I have breast cancer. So now here I sit, after X-Rays, blood tests and an MRI, knowing more about breast cancer than I ever thought I would and all the while still feeling I know less than a third of what I need to. What I do know today is that we believe it is Stage 1 of an aggressively growing tumor. This week I will meet with oncologists and other specialists to solidify the surgical plan along with any other treatment.
As I write this I am able to focus on this week being Thanksgiving and know that I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing family, including my mother who was on a plane and here with me as we sat through our first overview of cancer and a preparation course. I have an amazing man in my life who drove to town within hours of my diagnosis just to sit with me as I absorbed the news. I also have more caring friends and extended family than any one person could ask for or even expect. Over the last two weeks I haven’t attended an appointment on my own, even when I told others I could do it my friends still showed up. And my aunts made sure my mom and I were fed all week! On top of it all, I have the most amazing set of colleagues and support system at work (which I love) who have graciously picked up my load without question.
The one thing I have been asked consistently in every conversation is “what can I do” and I don’t usually have an answer. As we enter this holiday week I just ask that we all appreciate our loved ones, take the time to be present and just enjoy time together. And while you do that I will be enjoying Disney!! before this next phase of life starts here in Nashville.
I am choosing Courage – Courage to change the things I can. Since you can only change what you know I am thankful to know my diagnosis and to work with a team of doctors to create an opportunity for a long and fruitful life. If you have read this far, thank you! Like I said, I will use this site to keep you updated on my journey and will do so as best I can…and do remember, while cancer kicked me into gear to start my page – it won’t always be the focus.
Courage is key! Stay strong. I found that attitude makes all the difference.
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