2007-2015 Still learning and surviving
I spent this weekend celebrating my 8th year in remission from stage IIIA triple-negative breast cancer. In normal fashion, I got together with my closest friends and had a grand time. Several of my friends who shared my special days are also cancer survivors and I draw from their strength, humor and zest for life.
Since my diagnosis, I have learned that being in the company of people who not only support you but make you laugh and bring out the best in you is VITAL to my well being and happiness. I no longer stay in relationships that have toxic dynamics no matter the affiliation (family, employer, neighbor, etc.) Once you literally fight for your life, it's easy to walk away from circumstances. You didn't stare death in the face to stare at the enemy daily.
Every year that I reach another milestone, I sit back and honestly reflect on my progress emotionally, spiritually and physically. It's always hard for me to address my flaws and shortcomings but if I truly want to grow and continue to be well, it is a task that must be done.
So, with that said, over the past year, I have succeeded and I have failed. And I'm okay with that. I branched out and made new acquaintances-some were fun company in the moment and others will be around a lifetime. I'm trusting my discernment more. I've learned to set boundaries of how I will be treated and what I will reasonably tolerate. I've embraced a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise and I have my husband to thank for that. I've accepted the fact that my four legged friends are an important part of my daily life. And most importantly, I've learned that anyone who takes the time and energy to belittle you, mistreat you or make you feel inferior is already aware of your greatness. After all, why would they try to constantly put you down if you weren't already uplifted and soaring?
Eight years post cancer feels like my old self at times-my hair is long, my weight is stable, my asthma is under control, I'm hustling as an entrepreneur and at times, I long for something more. I don't like getting comfortable in any situation and I live for the challenge to exceed my own expectations.
Cancer revealed a meaningful purpose in my life and I will work harder to fulfill that purpose and be a better person for the 9th year milestone. I'll let trivial matters go and focus more on what truly matters. It's very cliche but yes, I had breast cancer but breast cancer NEVER had me.