At the time I began my fight against breast cancer, we were excited and relieved to have a plan of attack in place. We were ready to start fighting but honestly had no idea what we were in for, what lie ahead. It’s pretty amazing to reflect on my battle and to realize how incredibly strong the mind and body are, the unbelievable strength put forth when the mind and body become aligned in the same goal. Strength for each comes in different forms; the mental strength and positivity is just as important as the physical strengths and activity to withstand everything a cancer fight will throw at you. And you have to be ready, prepared, positive. The most important asset will be your mental strength, as it will be your guide for keeping your mind and body on the same page and provide you the necessary positive energy to be active on days where you need it the most. A positive attitude and outlook were essential in shaping my journey and providing me the insight and perception I needed, giving me confidence in knowing that no matter how long I was fighting, I was going to get through it and be a survivor. It made every day a positive experience for me. It propelled me to fight against fatigue and gave me the energy and desire to want to be at the gym and power through my workouts, coming out feeling physically and mentally stronger and more energized. Exercise is a powerful tool in fighting against the fatigue that comes with a chemotherapy and radiation regimen. If you don’t schedule time in your day to be active or exercise, you will find that fatigue feeds upon fatigue. If you do nothing, if you don’t want or try to be active, your body will get exhausted and expect that, and your mental energy will decrease right along with your physical energy. It can either be a positive cycle or a draining, exhausting cycle and what type of cycle you experience is completely up to you; it’s your choice and that is a powerful mindset. For me, I have always been able to choose a positive attitude and outlook, to express this in my personality and perception. And it was this fact, this reality, that was a source of inspiration and motivation for me during this journey. It changed me in so many ways and I discovered a new purpose and set of values I unlocked during my fight, and I can’t help but feel I was put on this journey for this very reason, to discover and see myself in a completely new light and to come out with a renewed sense of purpose and energy.
Let me explain; when I reflect on this journey and my fight, the biggest impact to me wasn’t what I went through. It wasn’t breast cancer or my surgery or treatments, it was the who, the people I met along this journey, the women I helped which in turn helped me to increase my positive energy and outlook just by reaching out, nurturing and helping others find the positive attitude and outlook when they struggled to find it within themselves during their fight. The best part of my journey was being able to connect and empathize with others, share stories and provide comfort to those who needed it, turn their perspective around to one of positivity and strength through their fight. It was also connecting and building relationships with my amazing team of doctors and nurses, especially my chemotherapy nurses, who were an amazing team and providing their own inspiration to me. Seeing them every week, experiencing the positive relationship with them was instrumental in making this journey such a positive and enlightening one. They never made me feel sick or that I was going to see them for my weekly chemotherapy infusion; their positive attitude and energy only did wonders to uplift mine, and pass that along to so many other women I met along my journey.
This was also something I discovered about myself, something I didn’t know I had in me and the more I talked to, lifted up and helped women, I realized I was really good at it and loved this process. It was one of the best gifts I received during this fight, in the form of a new people and value focus that has changed me in so many ways. It has caused me to look at my friends, family and even career through a different lens and helped me to make changes and inspired new changes I want for myself in the future. I am trying to figure out what this means for me and my next steps, how I can infiltrate these new values and skills into my professional world and whether or not it means a new career path for me: either one focused more on people or a company with values that align more with those I feel are most important to me now. Coming out of this journey, helping and inspiring others has created values where people are the foundation, the assets, the ones to be motivated, inspired, loved, the equation and factor for how a company achieves its goals and is true to their mission and vision. For me, it seems so incredibly simple now, an awakening that has provided me with a sense of purpose and why I am here. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and, through my breast cancer diagnosis, I believe it came into my life so I could realize this about myself, and ultimately become aligned with my one true purpose. It feels so much like a gift and, in an odd way, I am grateful and thankful this journey came into my life. Without it, I don’t know another path where I would have had the opportunity and experiences to discover so many new qualities and values about myself and the person I am supposed to be. Truly becoming one with my warrior spirit, my warrior strength.