Breast cancer?! …what else can go wrong this year?

When the unexpected happens, how can you tap into your resilience?

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While we all had to deal with this unprecedented pandemic, I also had to battle the big C (cancer) which was a major surprise given my age, physical health and lifestyle. I was in disbelief when I first heard about my diagnosis, and tried to stick to the facts to avoid panicking. The facts were well in my favor: very early and localized tumor, categorized as non-aggressive and slowly spreading.  My life was not in immediate danger, even though I had to go through a few week of mental paranoia, thinking I had every possible cancer in my body. I had to contemplate what it would be like to die at a young age, leaving two children behind who may only remember how strict and frustrating I am sometimes as a mother.  How would I spend my last weeks or months, what would my legacy be? In the end, I didn’t have to figure it out quite yet.

While I received a tremendous amount of support from friends and relatives, the word cancer is scary for everyone. I didn’t want to have to carry the additional burden to reassure everyone about my situation. I created a video diary and posted on social media to show everyone I was doing ok. More than feeling the love, I wanted to spread the word and help any other woman going through the same journey.  

Going through this difficult journey was a test for my resilience, which has always been a strength of mine.  Resilience may be an inherited personality trait, but I believe anyone can become more resilient by shifting their mindset, being curious and learning through any life experience. My way of coping is to help others.  There isn’t a problem without a solution. Even when you feel at your lowest, remind yourself that the sun will still rise tomorrow and everything will be possible again.  In the past couple of years, I have been doing so much more work on myself such as regular mediation and breathing exercises, trying to take the time to de-escalate stressful situation.  And I still have so much to learn to reduce stress levels, be patient and think twice before my impulse takes over.

I feel stronger and braver than ever. I believe that this event was indeed serendipitous and a sign that it is time to create the career and life I really want. I need to share that some of our tougher moments can be powerful in helping us realize that we need to keep fighting. I never felt sorry for myself; instead, I want to be even more generous in giving back to the world. I knew it wasn’t my time to go and I am going to be around for a very long time, measuring my impact by what really matters. There is a special space in my heart for the ones who didn’t make it; I will honor them by getting up every morning ready to have the best day ever. We don’t know how long we have here….make the best out of it!

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