It’s funny the places life takes you to. The last three years of my life I felt I was hijacked and kicked out in the desert to survive.While it has been the most challenging year of my life, one in which I have felt the most heart-wrenching lows I have ironically also had moments that were pure unadulterated joy. Through this year of fire and pain I have come out with a new awareness of who I am, and I can honestly say I love myself. Pretty amazing, I am a forty seven year old breast cancer survivor, in the middle of a devastating, brutal divorce, facing financial hardship, starting over in almost every conceivable way and I think I am incredible. What is even more surprising is despite all the stress, I am happy.
I’m not saying this hasn’t been a roller coaster ride. It has been but I have held on tight to my faith, laughed, loved , cried a little and grown into the women I was always meant to be. It has been a wild ride, but my journey has taught me that life is how you interpret it. I can see the trials of the last year and let it overcome me. I can look at the devastating losses I’ve experienced or I can look at the cancer, divorce and financial problems as my chance to start over, to recreate myself. Divorce and cancer gave me a second chance to live. I see myself as a phoenix rising from the ashes I am scarred but more beautiful than ever and more powerful. It isn’t easy to get to this moment of metamorphosis. It is scary to let your old self burn in the flames, it is painful. I have been consumed by fear, how can I start over. I have felt anger for my losses, the loss of twenty five years of my life with the same man. Countless things that breast cancer robs you of, security, your feminine identity, your identity as being a healthy person, even your sexual identity. I have felt the most intense loneliness facing this cancer battle without a significant other by my side, but through this all I have found that this journey has been about learning. The cancer in a strange way was also about healing my life and my spirit. It was ironic that it took facing my death to teach me that I needed to learn how to live. This is my story of how I made it through the fire.