Ten years ago, on my 27th birthday, I received the news that no one ever wants to hear: "You have cancer". I was the picture-perfect image of health: worked out daily, practiced yoga and meditation. I even adopted a whole foods, vegetarian diet. Upon finding a lump in my breast while showering, I called my gynecologist who wasn't worried but wanted to schedule a mammogram and biopsy for precautionary reasons. The very following day is when I received the news. I was diagnosed with a rare, non-normal form of breast cancer called Triple Negative.
After a whirlwind of tests, it was decided that I would need adjacent chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and a slew of clinical trial drugs. I was also told that if I survived cancer, I would have to wait several years to start a family, and that my fertility might be compromised. This was heartbreaking to me. I was scared, afraid, and felt alone.
For many years after my treatment, I battled with anxiety and depression, all the while struggling with my fertility. Six years after treatment, I was blessed with two beautifully wild twins. However, very shorty after the birth of my twins, my life was turned upside down yet again.
I was diagnosed with postpartum cardiomyopathy, a rare form of pregnancy-induced heart failure, that I may or may not recover from due to my history of chemotherapy. Further testing also revealed that I had a nodule on my lung that needs to be monitored for the next several years to make sure that my cancer had not metastasized. I was completely devastated. I thought the hardest part of my cancer was behind me and I was ready to enjoy life with my new family.
There are a few things that cancer has taught me: to be persistent and practice patience. When you are a cancer/medical patient you have no choice but to be both. Today I am beyond gratefully blessed to say that even though my ejection fraction is on the lower end of the scale, I am fully recovered from heart failure. This past year I was also told that I no longer need to continue to have scans to monitor my lung nodule as no growth has been detected.
My mission in life now is to help other women through their cancer journeys. It's cancer veterans like Jen Kehm who have inspired me to start my own organization, 412 Thrive. I am forever grateful for the women who have paved the way before me, the women who continue to battle with me, and for the support and love of family and friends.
Growing old is a privilege denied to many, so I strive to live each day to its fullest.