Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for this day, thank you for this life. Thank you for everything – all of it.
Today is September 27, my one year ‘cancerversary’ of my remission scan – my re-birthday. Which means my second birthday this month! One year in the clear and cancer-free! Woot! I said it before: September is the best month of the year! Life should be celebrated every day, but this month, there’s a gazillion reasons to celebrate a little extra hard.
The Gift of Perspective
A full year has gone by, which allows for some serious perspective. This is one thing cancer generously gifts to fighters and survivors in spades: a giant dose of perspective. Today marks a full year from the official end of the crazy, from the end of the treatment whirlwind, and from the end of the cancer cloud handing over my head. A full year from my last PET scan which made it official: I was in the clear and cancer-free. Truly, the best news of my life.
Post-scan I forged ahead with life: I’m done, I’m out, I’m moving on.
And forge ahead I did. I bopped about New York City in the weeks after my last round celebrating freedom and my birthday. I jumped back into barre and light fitness. I hopped on a plane to the Caribbean for a yoga retreat and some bliss on the beach. I started my first health coach training. I got my scan – cancer free. In the following three days, I maid of honored and celebrated hard at my sister’s beautiful church ceremony, the rehearsal dinner and the gorgeous, epic wedding celebration.
I dove in to my new training and researched all things wellness and business. I visited my friend in Philly. I visited my Nana in Boston. I hopped on another plane to visit my friends in LA, then tagged on a trip to San Diego to attend a health coaching conference. I got dressed up, attended parties and events, celebrated the holidays with friends and family, rang in the new year with sparkles and some bubbly, and even dated a bit here and there.
I survived, and life was meant for living, so I was out living mine, not just surviving, but thriving.
The Gift of the Post-Chemo Reality Check
But in reality it wasn’t quiiiite so easy putting the pieces back together. The optimist in me was like Oh yeah, I kicked cancer’s butt, I got this healing thing no problem! I’m completely fiiiine!
But chemo brain lingered, I forgot to replace my probiotics, and neglected to really ramp up the supplements. Right after new years, right at the start of a planned cleanse, my body started freaking out. It was abundantly clear: I still had some healing to do and some lessons to learn.
The reality is: chemo is rough. And 600 hours of it does a number on the body, no matter how well you get through it. The past year of healing has had its ups and downs, roadblocks, and frustrations to be sure, but I am HERE, and I am HEALTHY and ALIVE, and, really, that’s all that matters. And everything seems to be falling into place exactly as it should.
The Gift of Hope
And what got me through it all? Hope. Hope and love and the support of an amazing community that was there for me throughout diagnosis and treatment, and which continues to be there, and which continues to grow.
Now, my ‘chemo brain’ has largely subsided, my gut is more or less healed and back to normal, and I’ve regained my strength, endurance, and flexibility. My post-chemo hair is thicker (and curly) and finally lookin like a purposeful pixie. And while the color is different, the red is showing through again. I still have a few back aches here and there, and the occasional fatigue from disrupted sleep (another post-chemo side effect), but a year and a few cleanses and detoxes out, and all in all I am better than ever!
And with the gift of a mountain of perspective, when I look back on the last year, in spite of the challenges and frustrations, I have made a lot of progress. And I really have made a lot of positive changes. My body is healed, I’ve completed numerous trainings, and I have started a business pursuing my passion. That’s definitely something to celebrate!
The Gift of Confidence
I was well enough a year ago – pretty much straight outta chemo – to embark on a whole new career path: the health and wellness coaching. With the support of my community, I had the resources and capacity to research and utilize every healing modality possible, and I got through treatment incredibly well – the doctors and nurses were impressed and surprised at how well I was doing by my last round (and now my doctor isn’t even making me get follow up scans – win!!).
Finishing treatment strong enabled me to jump right back in to life. With confidence and conviction, I forged ahead and pursued my passion. To be sure, I had that healing left to do, but clearly the health coaching helped me heal myself. Now, I am officially certified as a health and wellness coach twice over, and by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching through a program approved by the National Board of Medical Examiners no less! (Sounds so fancy.)
The Gift of Purpose
My trainings confirmed and solidified everything I had learned about healing, and have broadened and deepened my knowledge of all the factors that contribute to overall wellbeing. Now, I am finally, formally, bringing together my background in psychology, my yoga certifications, coaching and mentoring skills, and my personal passion for wellness and incorporating it all into my coaching so I can share these resources with others.
Because really, after going through I went through and learning everything I did during treatment about healing and thriving, how can I not? My goal is to take my knowledge and experience and help others truly heal through a holistic approach – whether it be from cancer or other ailments or chronic diseases, and ultimately enable others to get on the path of wellness and create a lifestyle that supports their optimal wellbeing.
My absolute ideal: people never get to the point of receiving a chronic or critical diagnosis in the first place and they live deeply meaningful, fulfilling lives. Everyone wakes up energized and excited for the day… imagine that! I want to help people heal, revitalize, and truly thrive.
The Gift of Clarity
Life after cancer is full of possibility, and I believe there is a possibility of life without cancer. I’m aiming to do my part to make that possibility a reality. My certifications are complete, my website is live, and I’m creating group programs to complement the individual coaching. In my life before cancer, I had a vague vision of what I wanted, but it felt so far off in the distant future. I didn’t know how to get there. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t really know what was coming after, but I knew my life was changing, and I am so excited and grateful to have gotten to this point!
Another gift I received from cancer? The gift of clarity.
The Gift of Gratitude
So, thank you universe. Thank you life. Thank you for this journey, and thank you for bringing me right here.
And thank you to everyone – the literally hundreds of you who have supported me along the way – for helping me get through the darkness and emerge on the other side better than ever. During the most difficult time in my life, the thoughtfulness and generosity of my community brought so much love and light into a very dark situation, and because of this I was able to get through it and come out on the other side stronger and all the better for it. I knew I was supported, I knew I was loved, and I knew there was so much more life awaiting me.
Life After Cancer
I was able to take the time to focus on healing and change what needed to change in my life, and I am so excited to share what I’ve learned as health and life transformation coach, in a position where I can use everything I learned through my own journey to pay it forward and help people heal and overcome their health issues and ultimately reclaim their lives from the stress, overwhelm, and health issues that I am now all too familiar with.
I am so grateful to be on this path, and just so, so appreciative of the gracious support I have received; for the perspective I’ve gained; for the clarity, confidence, hope, purpose, and gratitude I’ve been gifted. Now my hope is that I can play my part in helping people prevent serious illness and not go through what I did… and live a life full of vitality and thrive!
With deepest gratitude and love,