When I first received my diagnosis, I was extremely overwhelmed because it affected every aspect of my life. It raised all kinds of fears. Fears of being unable to care for myself, fears of how much I would suffer during the treatment process, fear of the unknown, and not to mention the financial stress that comes with the diagnosis. But I knew that if I was going to fight this head on, I had to make some major lifestyle changes and ask for help. Thankfully I found The Breast Cancer Charities of America who helped me relieve some financial stress through the Help Now Fund program.
I also decided what was best for me was to become a vegan. So, I cut out all dairy, sugar, and most fats. I make green juices daily and add supplements to make me feel better and have more energy. I also made sure to increase my aerobic exercising by walking and riding a stationary bike. Hiking has become a big hobby of mine, especially when I get to feed the birds. I try to focus all of my energy on being kind and generous to everyone I meet because you never know what they may be going through.
I have been so blessed with such an amazing support team of friends and doctors. All the teams at my treatment facility have been so wonderful and supportive. I am humbled at how selflessly they care for me and the other patients. My friends have also been amazing and so available when I needed to talk to someone or wanted to go on a hike. There are so many people in my life that have brought me joy during these hard times. My partner, Jeff, brings me the most joy. His love has made my life worth living and has given me the strength to continue on this journey. Although my partner and I were both diagnosed with cancer, we keep our spirits high. We have been able to stay very loving towards one another during this incredibly difficult process, and I know that if we can get through this, we can get through anything!
I am to start chemotherapy in a few weeks and will be undergoing that for almost a year. If I could give another breast cancer patient a little bit of advice, it’s to accept the love and kindness that people offer you with an open heart. Be grateful for all the help that you receive. Experience the acts of grace and appreciate the smallest blessing because there is beauty in that. Find out why you want to live and experience all the emotions you go through. Take ‘cancer breaks’ and allow yourself to enjoy being alive and give yourself and supporters a time out from all the medical processes and visits. And don’t be afraid to slow down if you need to. You can do this!