On October 21, I attended The Breast Friend’s Patient, Survivor and Friends Luncheon and I may have found a new path for my life. One of the sessions was called “Taming The Tiger: Releasing Your Fears about Cancer” led by Dr. Shani Fox. Dr. Shani shared her own story of how she left a business career and went to med school in her 40’s for a major life change to honor her father and how he lived the last years of his life to the fullest. She led us in an exercise to remember a happy time and place in our own life and to then think of what we would be doing in life if we had no restrictions (i.e., health, money or time). It was something about the way she spoke to the room of survivors and the connection with us that made me look deep into myself. I cried (shocking, I know) and had to really think about it. This year has been so rough in many ways, not just my stupid cancer. My Dad had some scary health issues (he’s fine now), Nate got a promotion which is great, but includes more responsibility and travel and life at home is challenge to say the least with two of my step-kids living with us and a busy 6 year old. So I just sat there and cried.
Dr. Shani was trying to guide us to get to a happy place in our minds and what that looks like. For me, my health is paramount, but other than eating well, trying to get in some exercise and listening to my doctors, there is nothing else I can do to make sure my cancer does not come back so I don’t have a lot of control there. I have to let that fear go. The one thing I can control is MY journey, the day to day of me. I truly enjoy writing about what I have been going through and I like sharing. When I meet people and begin talking, my story tends to come out quickly and I joke that I am an “oversharer.” I like making a personal connection with people and I want to do it more. In that session, I decided that I want to become a writer and hopefully eventually a public speaker, sharing my struggles and helping others the way that I have been helped.
I called Nate on the way home that day and told him that I wanted to start writing my updates publicly and working towards writing a book. We worked on coming up with a domain name for my website where I would post updates and purchased www.ineverlikedpink.com . I did not want a link which screamed cancer, but was something kind of sassy and might one day be a good title for a book. Why not dream big, right? Plus, I have never been a girly girl who wore lots of pink or identified with the color. Sure, I had some pink ribbon items in support of breast cancer and my grandmother who passed way from it, but other than that, the color pink has never called out to me. Now that I am a two-time breast cancer survivor, pink and I, we’re buds. I don’t think that buying t-shirts or coffee mugs with pink ribbons will solve everything, but raising awareness and money for research is key.
Another thing which is key is getting the message out that there is so much support for those who are fighting this disease and their families and that there is life beyond cancer. I want to be one of those women who can help others while sharing my story. I want to blog about it, and write a book and speak at conferences like the one I attended. I want to give people hope and inspire them. I want to do book tours. I want to write about my life like Jen Lancaster and Glennon Doyle. If I get to make money and travel and inspire others, that’s a plus! So going forward, I will be posting on my site. I will still put a link here on Facebook for my updates, but I want to get my story out there. Feel free to share, comment and question anything that you think will help me along my journey. Right now, the website is bare bones, but it will grow. All of your support means the world to us and I am so thankful.