I Have the Will

Q & A, Survivor January 18, 2017

Tammi C. Walker
Chicago, IL
Stage 2b Breast Cancer, 2007
Stage 1 Breast Cancer, 2012
www.dreamsareareality.com

1. What was the darkest moment in your cancer journey?
The darkest moment in my cancer journey was initially finding out in 2007. I was mortified. I could not wrap my mind around the diagnosis. I was only 36 years old and healthy as a horse. It was like it came out of the blue. Also, after the first round of chemotherapy, I had Neutropenia, low white blood cell count. The shots to remedy the condition made me so sick, I could not lift my head off the pillow.

It was some scary times. It was scary being bald. The wigs helped me so much but I really enjoy my own hair. I was happy to have my hair back.

2. If you could go back and talk to your pre-cancer self, what would you say?
If I could go back and talk to my pre-cancer self, I would say, “Tammi, relax a bit. You are too wound up. You worry about the future and things you can’t control. Go out and live your dreams. Do your music and start your own business. Stop working for people and doing jobs you simply hate. Life is more precious than that!”

3. How has cancer changed you?
After cancer I feel much more confident. I worry a lot less. If there I something I want to do, I do it. I don’t procrastinate as much. I am very conscientious about my treatment of others. That has always been high on my list to show love and respect to all but I really go above and beyond.

I have noticed when I am on the phone with various people such as a doctor’s office or my insurance office, they will often say, “You are so nice. This is the best call I had all day.” It makes me wonder how some other people are speaking to them.

I just feel that God left me on earth to help, serve and give, or serve and help, in no particular order. For me surviving cancer twice is a miracle. It is wrong for me to waste time on things that don’t matter. I also think I am weirder after cancer. I was always a little different, but now I am more introverted and quiet at times. It is because I am often thinking or reserving my energy. I am not as talkative as I use to be years ago, but I feel in my heart that’s okay.

4. What motivated you to pursue your 2nd Act?
After having breast cancer in 2007 and spending half that year part of 2008 in treatment, I began to think about my life. I often wondered why I was on earth. I began life coaching in 2010. Now I am in school working on my Masters Degree in social work so I can be a therapist. It was one of my best decisions ever!

5. What has been your brightest moment in your 2nd Act?
I love volunteering for the American Cancer Society. Loyola Hospital (here in Chicago) holds an annual test and treat fair. This fair serves uninsured women. I love meeting the women and encouraging them. There are all races and ages at the fair and the women speak many languages. There are interpreters there to assist with the fear. Its amazing!

I also loved being in the 2nd Act stage production in Chicago in 2015. It was an amazing experience and I met the best survivors ever. Every woman has a unique story with extraordinary talent. The support I got from family and friends was simply amazing.

Also I try to connect with other newly diagnosed women and help them wherever I can. I want to encourage them that they can beat this disease. I am a life coach and lead workshops at the Journey to Wholeness in Oak Lawn, IL. This holistic wellness center has inspired me, and the owner Kimberly Davis is an amazing woman.

6. Where do you see yourself going from here?
I see myself going very far! I have a lot of areas I want to explore. Currently I am finishing graduate school and my book, From Drastic to Fantastic, coming out in the spring/summer of 2017. I am a singer by nature, and want to do some live performances. And I love to travel. Basically, I feel I can go and do whatever I put my heart into. I feel very empowered and inspired these days. Grateful to be alive!

7.What’s your favorite quote and how does it fit into your 2nd Act?
My favorite quote is, “Wherever there is a will there is a way.” I love this because to me it means don’t make excuses – make things happen! No matter how complex things are, you can figure out a solution. It fits into my 2nd Act because that is how I am attacking my life. I may run into challenges but I feel that where there is a will there is a way. I know if I try hard and keep the faith, I will figure it out with God’s help.