Our Archive

Aside from the day I was diagnosed, and I realized my life was about to change forever, there were two darkest days. The first was flying to Chattanooga, TN, in early September a few weeks before my double mastectomy, to tell my father “good-bye.” He was in hospice and neither of us were certain we’d ever see each other again.

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The darkest moment in my cancer journey was the day I received the news of my diagnosis. The news came from my doctor in a phone call as I was leaving my uncle’s funeral and on the way to his celebration of life.

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I remember crawling into bed on the evening of my diagnosis to cuddle with my then 3 year old daughter. I stroked her hair and sang softly to her as I had done so many nights before, and all that kept running through my head was, “She’s not going to remember me.”

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My battle was more of a roller coaster. Sometimes I was up, sometimes I was down, sometimes I was careening towards death, and other times I was chug, chug, chugging out of a quagmire of depression. That’s the thing about cancer, it challenges us to rise up even from the deepest pits of despair, and by rise up, I don’t just mean be strong.

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Girls Love Mail

Q & A, Survivor June 28, 2017

My 2nd Act came together by meeting so many women who didn’t have support while going through treatment. I wanted to find a way to help. Starting my charity, Girls Love Mail, combined my love for letters and my desire to encourage other women. It was one of those ah-ha moments.

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I tend to dream big and my brain doesn’t seem to stop! I want to create a mind shift in the way we think about treating breast cancer, focusing more of our energy and resources on prevention. I want to help women and their loved ones not have to go through this horrifying disease!

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There were a few dark moments, but what stands out is the not knowing. Would I live? Because inside I felt like I was dying, especially laying there in bed after a chemo treatment. So many questions, and I felt dark inside, with those closest to me not understanding what I was trying to say.

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There are so many things that I have learned as a cancer survivor for which I am grateful, but perhaps the most important is understanding the importance of living an authentic life, being authentic and surrounding myself with authentic people.

Wasting time and energy is no longer tolerable to me. Dealing with people and issues who or that have no real purpose to promoting the greater good – love – are no longer a part of my life.

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I recognized I had been given a 2nd Act, but shouldn’t stop there, not at mere acknowledgment. I needed to put it into verb-form: into action. I am now so much more appreciative and aware of life’s blessings, verbalizing it frequently. You quickly learn that it’s not about the what (what I do, what I have, what people think, what I accomplish), but rather the who that I have in my life (God, family, friends)!

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The first was a dragonfly that graced me with its presence as I was going through treatment. It flew over my balcony, and repeatedly fluttered against my door as if trying to come in. I have never seen a dragonfly this close or act this way before. I now know that the dragonfly is the symbol of wisdom, change, and perhaps, the sign to live differently. This was a huge wake up call for me. It was what I needed to see to tell me it’s time to move forward, move on and accept the change that cancer has thrown into my life.

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When I got the news was the darkest moment for me. Shock. Disbelief. Confusion. The emotions so common when we get the “news.” Even though it was 19 years ago, I remember what followed. I said to myself, “I will get through this. I will be well.” I remember thinking, “Now is the time to use every single ounce of strength, all my inner resource and knowledge to become well.” I was more determined than I had ever been in my life.

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No Fear!

Q & A, Survivor March 29, 2017

Fortunately, I was one of those “lucky” ones. My cancer was slow growing and caught early. But I would tell my pre-cancer self (and have actually apologized to others affected by cancer before I knew better) – that there is nothing good about cancer. Nothing. There is no “good” cancer. I would be more compassionate with cancer patients and their families. I would be more patient, a better listener, and a more giving friend to anyone cancer impacts.

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Thrive!

Q & A, Survivor March 22, 2017

After three perfect strangers reached out to me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt a deep need to pay it forward. They shared their stories and it made all the difference for me to be to come out of despair and begin to heal. They helped me learn first hand the power of sharing one’s story. And that is why I created the magazine.

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You Are Beautiful

Q & A, Survivor March 15, 2017

I have to say, from the moment I was diagnosed, I made the conscious choice to focus only on the positive. I would find anything that made me happy or smile and stay in that place of gratitude. When my mind would wander to a dark place, (it usually happened when I would search the internet for answers), although educating myself on my cancer was necessary, allowing myself to become fearful did nothing but make me upset, so I eventually stopped that process.

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