Throughout the last 12 months I have not only managed to beat cancer, finally, reunite with my twin brother, fall in love, receive a new immune system, and FINALLY start to focus on my future without the fear of cancer coming back ALWAYS creeping in (time and less blood tests and bone marrow biopsies help silence this voice), but I have also made many new friends who have either fought or are still fighting cancer. I am eternally grateful for all of the above. However, these are some really special people and I am humbled to know them and will live everyday honoring those who were lost in the fight. Surviving for me meant finally making my dreams come true and stepping into my most authentic self, but it also has its side effects, just like some of the best things in life! There is always a catch, when anything is worth it but continuing to be cancer free and courtageous, I know is what is best for me.
The text came this past Sunday morning……as I had been crafting a column on “survivors guilt,” but was still searching for my words to do this specific subject justice. So I’ll start now…….For myself but mostly for my fallen soldiers. (This is a soliloquy so there will be some more chapters to come)
The husband of a close copine from the Wild Wild West texted this past a Sunday morning that his wife, would finally trade her warrior suit of armor for some angels wings. She is a Mother, a wife, a friend and fearless survivor who was dealt a seriously shitty hand in leukemia and SO much more. But one thing I will always remember about her is she NEVER gave up her positivity or lost herself in the battle with leukemia. She stayed as tremendously strong for her three daughters as her body endured some of the most ruthless regimens. She took down each leukemic blast with grace even when they reared their ugly heads when she finally felt she was in remission. She is one of the reasons why I share my story for survivors. I will forever hold our friendship in my heart and now know I have another angel above me, pushing me towards my passions and helping me persevere through the pain and PTSD this monster has put on me.
Surviving is truly half the battle and it’s 3 prong for me. Spiritually (soul) surviving, and knowing I am safe now, physically surviving with the silly side effects of the stem-cell transplant and knowing that holistic health is wealth, and mentally surviving, which means instead of allowing PTSD and survivors guilt to gut me, honoring the past, living in the present and staying hopeful for the bright future ahead.
This is what my sweet Ivie would have wanted me to do. And for her, my fallen sister in stem-cell transplant, the world!
You are forever in my heart and I know from what you endured, you have forever changed the world in aid of finding the cure for frenetic leukemic cancers like yours. You have left your mark on the world and all leukemia warriors will now live in gratitude for your grace and gumption to never give up and gregariously go after any treatment option possible. I will never forget one of the last things she said to me, “We have to stop killing people with chemo,” and girlfriend, I plan on using that powerful statement, that has stayed with me, as a sounding board for solutions in helping people survive a cancer diagnosis without destroying their bodies and making it detrimental to their holistic health.
Surviving is where I am in the journey right now….and I know with angels like Ivie, one day soon I’ll be thriving!!!!
This is the journey to the one and allie.