Nearly four years ago I was diagnosed with Early Stage Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I had just turned 35. I’m not exactly foreign to breast cancer, given that my mom is a survivor going on 25 years of cancer- free-ness (yay!). Nevertheless, those words take the breath out of you: “You have cancer — this is very serious.” That was about all I heard before my doctor’s voice turned into what seemed reminiscent of the teacher in the Peanuts cartoons. I went on to learn that I have the BRCA1 gene as well, so the course of treatment involved a bilateral mastectomy, five months of chemo, and multiple reconstructive surgeries.
That was what happened to me. The rest is what I choose to do with it. You learn a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of through times of adversity. I’m the same person I always was, but I’d be lying if I said cancer didn’t have an effect on me. I make a conscious choice every day to take the initial fear cancer instilled in me and use it to my benefit. Since beating (not just surviving) cancer, I’ve made a silent promise to myself to Live Out Loud. I’m more cognizant of what makes me happy and doing more of the things that I enjoy.
I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m a very lucky girl. I get to live while so many others are not as fortunate. That said, I feel a sense of responsibility to not just “survive” but to thrive and honor others who battle the disease, whether through my participation on the SOS Dragon Boat Team, BC fundraising events, or just simply healthy living. Now I know there’s nothing I can’t do. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live out loud.