Hello my friends! I can’t believe it has been over 3 months since I last sat down to write. While I intentionally was taking a break from writing and sharing, I had no idea if I would ever want to come back to this page and share again. Well, here I am, so ready to give back from all I am learning and have learned through this journey that it feels some days that it is bursting out of me. This is now my life, I have an added title to my collection and it is one that I will wear proudly (most days) and am still determining how I will fulfill this new title of ‘Survivor’.
I have started working with another young survivor, Laura Birdwell, and an amazing network of women as we determine how we are going to be a part of the movement that saves more women’s lives and raises awareness for young women about breast cancer.
I also continue to partner with the American Cancer Society here in Nashville and am an ambassador for the ResearcHERS campaign this month to raise awareness and funds for women scientists fighting cancer; women helping women! Please take a look at my page and if you can support this cause it will help us all to have a better chance fighting and beating cancer. The other project(s) we are working on will be announced soon and it is going to be exciting to see what the women of Nashville can do. Giving back and finding my place in this community has helped me to heal and continues to give me perspective on what cancer does to individuals, how prevalent it is and also how lucky I am.
During this time I have also met a great milestones, a clear 3 month check-up and clear scans after a bit of a scare from swollen lymph nodes. Today I am healthy and feeling fantastic! After my all clear I got right back to working out and began training for my first sprint triathlon which will take place this June. I am trying to make small habit changes each day to improve my long term health, and I have to say that it is not always easy. I fall down and end up getting Taco Bell once in awhile or indulging to too many cocktails…which always makes me feel horrible for a few days, but in the end I try. It is still shocking to me that there are no mandatory education programs for survivors or patients on total health; fitness, nutrition, mental health, spiritual health, etc. I strongly believe that these aspects of healing should be a required part of the healing journey and supported through our healthcare providers and insurance just as all of these drugs are. While we can all do this on our own and we are sometimes provided pamphlets, it is almost always on out of pocket expense. I have and will continue to be dedicating much of my free time to learning more about wellness, in the true sense of mind, body, spirit, finances, etc so that I will be able to give myself the best change and hopefully share with others along the way.
This life isn’t easy and we know that everyone is always going through something – it is how we deal with that something that determines what happens next. While I have made my fair share of mistakes – usually when feeling the anger that comes from time to time (like after I have to go in for my monthly injection) – I am working each day to be better as I accept my new fate. Having the Courage for Good, Better, Best is and always will be my driver and inner dialogue. When I fall (which I actually did this weekend and a lot over the past months learning to ride my bike and apparently walk…) I will get back up and I hope that you can come along with me – sharing your stories and reaching out for support when needed.
My world shifted today after watching Brene Brown’s Netflix special this morning. *SPOILER ALERT* She shares a story at the end of the special about her daughter taking on a swimming race she did not want to do, and after the race where she was dead last she went to her parents and said “That sucked”. While her parents agreed, she followed it up by saying “but I was brave and I won”. She had won by swimming her own race and doing her best – this is what Courage is. After the show ended I cried off and on for about an hour as I realized that while having to go through the treatment process for cancer and now the continued maintenance does suck, I am choosing to be brave and therefore I am winning. This was the push I needed to put myself back out there.
I win each day when I wake up and breathe – if you can take one thing away from this story today it is to BREATHE. BREATHE with your full body, find the technique that works for you and do it once a day, then twice a day, then anytime you have to make a hard choice or pick your path. Have you been BREATHING today?