My health journey began with a routine visit in 2008. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no signs or symptoms. However a mass appeared on my mammogram and I was totally blindsided by this diagnosis.
At this time in my life, I was 42 years old, married with two children and building my career. My treatment included 30+ rounds of radiation and I was declared cancer free in 2009. However, I wasn’t free from the thoughts of how this could have been avoided. Did I not eat right? Was I exposed to some type of toxins? Was getting my hair relaxed the cause of my cancer? Was being overweight the cause of my cancer? No definitive answers emerged.
Cancer caused me to take better care of myself. I changed my diet, started to exercise, better manage my stress and focused more on enjoying each day of life and spending time with family and friends.
I also took a leap of faith and retired from a job that I had worked at for 21 years. Why? I wanted to make sure if and when I leave this earth, I lived the life I wanted. I started my own business, became an author, artist and speaker. The cancer diagnosis gave me the courage to do that which I previously feared. Cancer made me fearless.
Unfortunately, the cancer returned ten years later in 2019. Once again, no signs or symptoms. A mass appeared on my mammogram. This time radiation would not be the treatment. I chose to have a double mastectomy. This wasn’t what I really wanted; however, I needed to make a decision that would give me a better chance to live longer.
This time I found myself grieving the life I was enjoying. So, I started going to therapy so I could better cope with this unexpected new reality.
Here are the Top 10 things have learned a lot dealing with cancer:
- 1. Cancer does not have to mean the end.
- 2. Eat a healthy diet – I lost 25 pounds.
- 3. Exercise – I work out 3/4 times a week.
- 4. Continue to get check-ups on schedule
- 5. Protect your mental health – see a therapist.
- 6. Don’t let a diagnosis cause you to do what you already know to do (i.e., eat right, exercise, enjoy life).
- 7. Limit the toxins and chemicals you are exposed to. I stopped using relaxers in my hair and went natural. Also, use all natural soaps and deodorants.
- 8. Get a second opinion and ask a lot of questions.
- 9. Don’t take tomorrow for granted – enjoy every day. Love your friends and your family.
- 10. Trust God! It ain’t over!
I hope my story inspires you to live your best life.