Right after I found out the joyous news that I was finally pregnant after trying for a second baby for two years, I found out I had cancer.
It’s amazing how you can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, very quickly. I went from the obstetricians to the oncologist’s office, thinking about how crazy this whole thing was- and I put 100% of all my energies on completing a successful pregnancy and holding my son. Aedan arrived weeks early, tiny but perfect, and after some treatment I was declared “cancer free”. I went along in the business of mothering 2 kids and life in general. I thought that was the end of that, all was well, and I wouldn’t have to deal with cancer again. It was in the past. I didn’t want to think about it, hear about, or have it had any part of my life. I was done with cancer.
Except I wasn’t. One month and 2 days after I was 5 years cancer free- I found out that I had a relapse. The beast was back. I was in for another fight, but I wasn’t alone. Previously, I had kept my cancer story close to me, suffering in silence as I concentrated on my pregnancy. This time, I was giving 100% of my efforts to beating the cancer again, and I wasn’t going in alone. I had my family and friends by my side to help.
My people rallied around me. My MOMS Club was there, as was my super close knot group of preschool Moms. My family as always, was there for me. I was so thankful to have all this love and support, but it was depressing telling the same story over and over with updates, so I decided to try writing out what was happening on this new thing called a blog. One Day At A Time was born. It would be a place where I could write what was happening, where I was in treatment, what I needed help with and how I was feeling. It started off as a way to share my story and it ended up being what I needed to heal.
When I was terrified before doctors’ visits, I’d write about it. When I feared my options, I wrote about it. When I laughed at some of the things I had to deal with before surgery, I wrote about (you either must laugh, or cry- I chose to laugh). My blog went from a place where I vented and talked to my friends, to a place where other Moms with cancer would come and say “Me, too!” When I wrote down my fears, they became less powerful. I had to learn to bare my soul and share my story and my emotions. Once I did that, I began to believe that everything was going to be okay.
Pat Wetzel author of her own cancer blog, Cancer Road Trip, said this about sharing our cancer stories:
"We don’t heal through medicine or pills. We heal through our soul. And stories help touch, inspire and motivate us to reach deep, to connect and to find a new path to health."
Pat started sharing her story and how she chose to heal from it- by taking a Cancer Road Trip, and it’s helped her heal. Once I started sharing my cancer stories, I think that’s when I also started to heal. Not just physically, but spiritually. I connected with people who I would have never known otherwise. Some recommended my new Oncologist to me, others shared their and we all wept and raged together when we lost one of our group to cancer. We supported each other. We helped each other heal.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is a terrifying thing. But it’s also a wake up call on how you owe yourself the freedom to take care of YOU however you need to do so. In my case, it was writing. Others go to church or yoga or like Pat, travel. I think it’s important to know that beating cancer is about more than killing the bad cells – it’s also about allowing yourself to live. So, I write a blog. I’m cancer free for 15 years now, again. I still write, at Waitsover.com now- I wrote about anti-bullying when my daughter tried to kill herself from bullying. I write about mental health, and nowadays I write about entering middle age and my kids growing up. I share my stories because I gained so much strength from it before, when I needed it the most.