Having cancer was a learning process for me. I learned a lot about my personal limitations but maybe most important, I learned there was plenty I thought I knew about my body and overall health, that I was completely clueless about. I always believed I was healthy and in fact the adjective “healthy” was one I would use often to describe myself. When asked in a group setting icebreaker game to name three words to describe yourself, I would say “understanding, caring, and healthy.” I would go to a health food store before a candy store any day. I truly loved frozen yogurt; I knew kidney beans were high in antioxidants; and washing off pesticides from your food was a must. I wasn’t necessarily wrong or being inauthentic when using this term prior to my diagnosis, I simply wasn’t aware of everything “health” encompassed.
I finished my last chemo treatment March 4, 2005. For years after, my family and friends celebrated that day as my “Carpe Diem” day.
In honor of National Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, I wanted to share my story of being diagnosed with cancer and the hard decisions that come with this, including treatment and medication options. This article is the first in a three-part series.
I am a 36 years old single female with no children. I know some of you might already be feeling sorry for me. Don’t worry…I get that all the time. I can already see your brows furrow. I can hear the sad sigh that follows with a hug and tell me that “everything happens for a reason.” Stop it- really it’s okay. I know that life does take a path of its own and it might not always look the way I envisioned it when I was five years old playing with my favorite cabbage patch dolls pretending I was the mommy. However, I love my life and I love the perspective that I have gained as a friend, aunt, teacher, and community leader without being a mother.