Two weeks ago I had my last oncology treatment and rang the bell. It was a day I’ve looked forward to since September 10, 2020 when they gave me my final oncology plan. I had it on my calendar and looked forward to it with more excitement than my birthday (and I love celebrating my birthday).
It was my last day of active treatment that marks my transition from
fighting to survive to living and thriving.
It’s inspiring, scary, emotional, exciting, and motivating all at once. Have you ever felt that way? Where you are looking forward to something and it scares you as much as it excites you? When all of your emotions seem to come on line all at once?
I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, and yet in a crazy way I’m grateful I went through it. Through this last year, I’ve learned so much about myself and know there’s so much left to uncover. Being a coach doesn’t exempt me from the need to be aware of my own feelings or to continue learning.
Fighting cancer stripped me and my life bare to only the very necessary essentials. Proof that there is always more room to grow, learn and focus.
I learned about levels of strength and courage that I didn’t imagine I had. I’ve seen new depths and capacity to endure things I only imagined based on TV shows and books. Cancer and other adversities can break you or make you over. They can leave you bitter or God willing better. You’ll lose parts of yourself: literally to surgery and side effects and figuratively to the emotional and mental roller coaster.
I’ve been tested in a way I didn’t see coming. I am through the worst of my journey and still have some left to go. I know now that the past 13 months of active treatment were just the beginning.
Cancer is what I experienced. It is not who I am.
I now have to decide how I want to live the rest of my life. What lessons do I keep inside for my own growth and which ones do I need to share? How do I continue to process the crazy range of emotions that I’m feeling? How do I use the incredible space that’s opened up in my life?
Now that I’m not spending every waking moment fighting an invisible enemy, how do I channel my energy into new battles? How do I use this to make our lives better?
I know I went through this for a purpose. It was not to sit idly on the sidelines. It was not to play life small. It was not to let little things eat away at my joy.
Someone told me that I’ve touched more lives than I know. That my ministry enters the room with me. I want that to be bigger and intentional as I continue to walk my talk I find myself needing to lean in to the lessons I teach my clients about goal setting and envisioning their next level. I want to wring every drop off purpose and meaning from my cancer journey.
Life gave me lemons and I made lemonade.
It’s up to me to decide how sweet it will be.
Today is the start of what I was fighting for-the rest of my life. To live, love, laugh and learn with my incredible family and friends. I have so much more than I thought. That is one gift I’m taking with me into my next phase.
Thank you to each and every person who prayed for me, reached out, sent a meal, checked in on me, supported my family and wished me well through this journey. I am more grateful for you than you know and look forward to deepening our connections.
For every SHEro out there fighting breast cancer (or struggling through ANYTHING)—keep fighting. Know that it’s not weakness to ask for or accept help. Know that you show strength when you are vulnerable. Understand that you don’t have to bear the burdens alone.
And ladies…please get your mammogram—mine saved my life!