Hmmm, how do I share the story of a diagnosis that happened ten years ago? Well, for starters I was way too young and breast cancer wasn’t in my family history at all. I was diagnosed in October 2009. Wow, TEN years ago!
Here’s what I have come to realize over the years…
? There’s no point in asking “Why Me?”, because truthfully, why anybody? I know that my diagnosis isn’t a punishment for something I may have or haven’t done. Honestly I don’t know why. Perhaps there’s a scientific reason, or maybe not even. I’m not sure I need to know at this point. But I will say that although I don’t know the grand purpose for being diagnosed with cancer, I’m confident there is one.
? Some memories, the ones of physical pain or emotional betrayal just seem etched in my brain and not easily forgotten. Yes, there’s mindful healing and forgiveness that can take place, but sometimes it just what it is. It’s not controlling my life and that’s okay.
? Being angry or emotional doesn’t mean I’m not a “positive person”. It simply means in a given moment I’m angry, or I’m sad. I read once that emotions are much like laughter – when something is funny we laugh, but we don’t laugh forever. So when I’m upset, I sit with it and find comfort in knowing it won’t last long. My emotions don’t change the essence of who I am.
? We often identify post cancer treatments, surgeries, life after a cancer diagnosis as the “new normal”. But isn’t change in general a new normal? It’s not always easy to embrace alterations in our lifestyle or the way our bodies look, or a shift in our careers or how our idea of “fun” evolves, but isn’t it possible that some change, whether forced or chosen, can be a good thing?
? It’s not all bad. Yes, the treatments were horrible and the side effects linger longer than I’d like them to, but in this entire process, over the years, I’ve found support, I’ve made new friends, I’ve evolved in my own personal and spiritual growth and really gotten to know myself better.
? I’m not just Lucy with cancer. My cancer diagnosis is a chapter (perhaps several) in the story book of my life. My life didn’t go according to my “plan” (or fantasy), but I’m taking the life I do have and striving to make it the best I can.
? I share my story so you can feel empowered to share yours. I share the difficult parts to reassure you that you’re not alone. Although you may feel that way sometimes, trust me, someone on their journey can relate to your age, your lifestyle, your family, your work, your fears….you are not alone.
? There may not be a “cure” just yet, but it’s been 10 years and I’m still here! And I want to celebrate that! I’m inviting you on a wellness retreat with me, so that you too may celebrate all of the steps that have brought you to this point. Come join me! (Email me for more details: Lucy.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Written by Lucy Santoro, Tigerlily ANGEL Advocate