I was 35, single, a successful Realtor and had the whole summer of fun and vacations ahead. Just before leaving on my trip home, I found a lump under my armpit. “It’s just a cyst, I’m sure. I’m never sick,” I thought. Fortunately I had it checked out and the next week when I was diagnosed was the beginning of my new life. I had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and the birth of a new mindset.
Breast cancer can be scary, but it would be a lot scarier without great family and friends. I used the power of people, love and reaching out to get through the toughest year of my life. I shared my story on Facebook inviting everyone to go on this journey with me and to ask questions along the way. It was important for me to stay strong mentally, physically and spiritually not only to survive but to also carry my friends and family through this as easily as possible. All 4 of my siblings, 2 great friends and I signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer and raised more than $25,000 as a form of therapy for us and a way to help others. It was a beautiful distraction and an unforgettable experience.
Through my treatments, I began to see life more clearly. After being showered with so much kindness and wondering how I would ever repay all of the love, I realized I didn’t have to repay it, rather pay it forward. With this new mindset, I decided to change careers into a nonprofit position where I could use my talents and spread the love. A great movie, Happy, taught me the secret to happiness is a combination of how grateful you are for what you have, how quickly you bounce back from adversity and how much you do for others. Well, I am grateful to be alive and to be so loved, was determined to come through this tunnel a better, wiser woman and now plan to make giving to others an integral part of every day. Breast cancer scared and humbled me, taught me the true power of relationships and finally gave me the purpose in life for which I had always been searching. I am meant to help those in need of the strength and courage I have been gifted.
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