I was diagnosed with breast cancer, without any lump or clue as to how this disease started or why, on the eve of my 40th birthday. At the time, my children were 6 and 9, my marriage was a bit of a sham and I was working my first full-time job in several years.
When the floor is taken out from under you during a life-threatening diagnosis, things change. Things change because they have to – there is no way you can do what you did without being “sick” now that you are “sick”. And the line of demarcation is so fine and so quick. Yesterday, I was healthy. Today, I have cancer. It is that quick. It is enough to make you want to puke.
I quickly came to terms with it as best I could as looking at the other moms and being blindingly jealous as to why I had breast cancer and they did not. It was really not a good way to make friends and influence people nor to live my life that way. I quickly realized that I had to consider all of this “good” and “positive”.
By nature, I am a very positive person. Like, the car could be up in flames and I would be all like, “That’s ok, we needed to walk more anyway, right everyone!” – in other words, I am best in small doses because I tend to make other people stabby because I am always walking around with a big smile on my face. You know what, though, haters gonna hate no matter what so I might as well smile.
So I decided to still be me but to be a better version of me – a version of me that is not controlling, not Type A, who does not stay up at night worried about what other people think of me and to just use this disease as a way to bring solace to other people. Not everyone can look at cancer and smile and I try to share my infectious positive thinking with others through my blog, thetimebetweenis.org, my Instagram (@thetimebetweenis) and Twitter (@timebetweenis). I am focused on finding a job after being let go the day after my last chemotherapy and once I am reinvented, I want to reach back and help other women and men who lost or left their jobs during cancer or other illness. There is a lot left for me to do most importantly is to die of natural causes at some far away point in the future.
The stark reality is that 1/3 of all breast cancer patients are at risk of becoming stage IV and ultimately losing their lives to the “good” cancer. There is no such thing as a good cancer and I personally hope and pray every day that a cure can be found or a way to stop the progression of cancer in the bodies of all cancer patients.
I meditate in moderation – I used to meditate a lot because I was always anxious in retrospect over nothing. Now, I know what is really fear-inducing so I focus instead on meditating to clear my head and not as a crutch to drown out the bad thoughts.
I exercise every day – I always exercised but now I am more into it. I do my 40-120 minutes of cardio while listening to a hypnosis app by Seth Deborah called “Victory over cancer”.
I write as much as I want, when I want – I blog shamelessly and thoroughly, I write children’s’ books, working on fiction and just writing, writing all of the time. It is how I keep my cancer out of me in the metaphysical sense. I write it out, I share it, I meet others who also have been given this “plot twist” of cancer and share my message of mammograms, self-checks and just not giving up no matter what. I intend to do that myself as I am only one year out from diagnosis, I have no clue what the future will bring and being a “young” breast cancer patient means there are more risks and more things to think about – but I won’t – I will keep writing it out and sharing it and not keeping it.
I have decided to “reinvent” myself – I eat clean and weigh what I did in high school – a number I have not seen on my scale since high school. I am rocking a pixie cut I would never have had the balls to do to myself. I live in the moment. I practice gratitude. I try to be there for my kids but I am putting myself to the top of the list instead of the end of the list.
What are you doing to cope with your diagnosis? Let’s connect 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org