It’s been a year since I decided to post on Facebook that I was a cancer survivor. Sharing that news has really allowed me to come very far with everything I went through and everything my family went through almost two years ago. In January, it will be two years since my diagnosis. I am not constantly reminded that I am cancer survivor and it doesn’t come into my head as much anymore. Mostly because I am distracted with a toddler running around and that fact that I am living a pretty amazing life right now.
This past year I managed to accomplish a lot. Putting yourself out there, being raw with your feelings is a major obstacle to accomplish. I’ve always been more of a private person so sharing with everyone what I had gone through on Facebook was a huge step. Then I continued to share by writing this blog. Opening up about the challenges I was constantly facing. In addition to sharing my feelings I started running, competing in my first race and doing another 5k a couple months later. I organized a Dragon Boat Team for the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival, with my team fundraising $7200 for local cancer survivors. I also spoke a couple times to other cancer survivors sharing my story with all of them.
I feel like I am finally free of my cancer diagnosis. I know it won’t be gone forever but I also know I’ve made huge strides with it. I can now openly talk to anyone whether your a stranger or a family member or friend about my diagnosis and my treatment. A cancer diagnosis will never leave you but I can say for myself it does get better.
It’s been awhile since I last wrote, mostly because I haven’t had the need to write. My past with cancer doesn’t come up very often anymore and mostly I know how to handle it when it does. I don’t imagine it will ever go away and there are still some days where I find there are challenges. We are often reminded how important life is and how we should really value the time we have. I appreciate the life I have and I love every minute I get to spend with my daughter. I am often reminded how fortunate I am that I was diagnosed as stage one. Many people are not that fortunate in life and so my daughter is often referred to as a “miracle” or a “blessing.” I mean she really did save my life! I am so grateful everyday for that.
So I’ve been up to a lot lately, I spend six weeks coaching middle school field hockey. Nothing like coaching roughly 25 girls everyday. It was great to be outside and do something fun after I got out of work. Thankfully it didn’t take too much time away from spending it with my daughter. I am back to playing ice hockey in a men’s league one day a week after taking the Summer off. We’ve stayed super busy with spending time with family and friends.
Last night I made the finishing touches to my daughters Halloween costume. I love this time of the year. Its all about family and friends and all that we have to be thankful for.
My Dragon Boat Team to date has fundraised $4918 towards the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival. This means the world to me! Not only are my friends and family making donations but twenty of them are paddling and collecting donations themselves. Each paddler paid a $35 entry fee, bought a Soaring On t-shirt for $15 and promised to fundraise a minimum of $50. So many of them have surpassed that.
One of the things that has really touched me over the last couple months and continues to touch me is how my family and friends have shared my story in their own perspectives. This means so much to me and really touches my heart every time I read one.
I will be paddling with my friend and college teammate, Gabrielle, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016 at the age of 29 with a 5 week old daughter. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment were successful and Gabby’s one year scans have come back cancer free! However, the journey was not and is not easy, and Gabby is still benefiting from organizations providing ongoing support to cancer survivors.
Gabby and Aaron became friends while at St. Michael’s College. Gabby was diagnosed with cancer at the time of the birth of her daughter about a year and a half ago. They are doing great! Many of us have been deeply affected in our families by cancer. I hope you may be able to help with any donation at all in their honor as well.
For me and my family this is an important cause, because we are extremely grateful for the support Gabrielle received this year after being diagnosed with cancer. 100% of the money stays in Vermont to support cancer survivors like Gabrielle.
I have had the honor of being asked to paddle on a Dragon Boat Team. I am paddling on a team called “Soaring On”. This team was put together by a client of mine who is a very young Ovarian Cancer Survivor. This is very dear to my heart as not only is she a great client but AMAZING person, wife and a mother of a 1 year old.
It makes me realize how much my life touches others around me. My family and friends have been a great support to me. There are also so many of you who have donated to my cause as well. You have no idea how much this really means to me. To me it feels great to be giving back to organizations that helped me recover from a cancer diagnosis and continue to help me.
Thank you to my teammates for all of your hard work in making this possible. Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach to reach our fundraising goals. I am looking foward to race day in a couple of weeks.
If you’re interested in donating to support our Dragon Boat Team, donations can be made via this link: Gabrielle’s Dragon Boat Festival Fundraising Page.
As we approach Mother’s Day this weekend I am reminded of two very important things. One that I am very thankful to have my Daughter and two how thankful I am here today with her.
I am also reminded that not everyone is as lucky as I am. It reminds me of any earlier post I made and the quote I shared. We are all fighting battles and we all need support from one another. It doesn’t matter how big or how small your battle might seem. It’s a battle that we are all facing. So remember to be kind, smile, say please and thank you. Tell a friend you’re thinking of them, send a card and send some love. We are all fighting different battles through our lives and its really important to be there for people along the way.
We all have a lot to be thankful in our lives. Cherish the moments you get to spend with your love ones. Remember that there are family and friends out there that might not be so lucky.
To anyone out there know that you’re not alone we all fighting different battles. They might be different battles, but they are all important no matter how big or small they might be.
To all my friends and family out there know I am always thinking of all of you. You’ve been there for me so much and I will continue to be there for all of you.
Last night one of my friends called to share with me very exciting news about her life. It made me so happy to part of her exciting news. Before she shared her exciting news she listened on the phone and let me talk about what I was currently struggling with my scans coming up. She was a true friend who followed up the phone call with let me know how you’re doing and please call me. I have some amazing friends out there. We’ve been friends for over ten years now, we’ve been college roommates and for the past 8 years have lived over 500 miles apart from each other. We have been through so much together, grad school, engagements, weddings, and job changes. All of these things are exciting, but we’ve also been through the tough stuff too. True friendship is when you can talk to someone and not judge each other and support each other. Friends are the ones who can lift you up when you really need it most.
I have so many great friends out there. My friends live far away, they live the next town over, they work with me, they play hockey with me, I’ve known them years and I’ve known them months. If you are part of my life then you are a friend to me and I value your friendship. You’ve all been there for me over the last year and half and I am so thankful to you. You are the ones who visited with me, delivered us meals, helped clean my house, called and texted me, and listened when I needed you to.
We all need great friends in life and I am so lucky to have some amazing friends out there.
Love to you all!! xoxo