Two years ago today, 10-15-2018.
The previous week was full of appointments and biopsies. Today, I walked in to the Women’s Health Center at Huntsville Hospital and heard the words “You have breast cancer.” It wasn’t immediate panic and tears. It was disbelief. Shock. A mind full of questions. I googled every possible search before my appointment. I knew what the nurse was explaining. But my one main question was, what was my stage? I was surprised to hear that they didn’t know. I could have weeks, years, or a surgery could cure me. What?! Telling someone they have cancer without out knowing the specifics was cruel. Worst case scenarios flooded my mind. My husband sat silent beside me processing the information. They handed me a big binder full of everything she just told me. She asked if I had a preference on an oncologist and surgeon and they would set up all the appointments. And that’s it. We walked out.
Right then and there, life changed for our family. Most have a moment like that in their life. A phone call in the middle of the night, a car accident, a conversation, a doctor visit. One second just living life and the next the whole world is upside down. We all face challenges. We all have different stories but the emotions are all the same. We all face fear, love, grief, happiness, sadness, etc. Life doesn’t give you an explanation for why you are going through, what you do. Life owes you nothing. You, alone, are responsible for finding purpose- to discover why you have been dealt the hand you live with. I believe these events do not happen to break you but to mold you into the person you were born to be. These challenges are part of your story- a story unique to only you with an ending completely up to you.
I am writing, photographing, and telling my story for me as documentation and healing. I am also doing this for my daughter. Maybe one day she will see the posts and have a better understanding of it all. And finally, I am sharing this for YOU. YOU, who have been newly diagnosed with cancer. YOU, whose mother has recently passed away from cancer. YOU, a friend of a stage four survivor and don’t know what to say. I am not writing this for sympathy or praise. I’m not writing this to pat myself on the back for all my accomplishments and “beating cancer” while others fate is not the same. I see YOU struggling. I have been there too. I’m writing this to give YOU hope. To show my view of survivorship. To be vulnerable with my struggles and triumphs and to share with YOU that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Today I am starting a new chapter in my story. Today I am starting a self-portrait series and blog. This will help me process and heal the things in my life I cannot change, finding purpose in my journey.