The month of February started off with an AMEN and ended with a WOW!! I am still in awe of everything that has happened this past month. The initial shock is turning into gratitude and excitement. The month started with the most amazing news EVER!!! My prayers were finally answered. My doctor called to tell me the results of my PET Scan. The results came back that I am NEAD (No Evidence of Active Disease). For someone with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer to hear those words is unbelievable. It’s what we all strive for. Yes, there’s always the fear that the cancer could come back, but I am not thinking about that. I am enjoying the ride.
I really didn’t know how to share the good news with everyone. I decided to make a video and post it on Facebook. To my surprise it has been viewed over 7,000 times. If I would have known that so many people were going to watch it I would have not been such a hot mess crying. Hahaha But honestly, I was inspired at that moment and that is how I felt. I shared a vulnerable side of myself and I have no regrets. I want to thank everyone that celebrated the good news with me. I am not taking the news for granted. I feel like I owe it to myself and God to enjoy everyday to the fullest and to continue to share my story. That was my “deal” with God. I told him I would share my story if he granted me a miracle. God gave me my miracle and I am a woman of my word.
I have already shared at church and will share again in March. I will also share my story at an event for the American Cancer Society on March 17th. Shamrock at the Park event is from 2-9pm in Palmetto Bay. I will be speaking around 5pm. I am calling all my Green Chemo Ninjas to come out and support me. For more info click here
The best part of being NEAD was telling my oldest son that “mommy no longer has bad cells in her body”. I didn’t know what type of impact that would have on him, but Richard and I have seen a difference in Sebastian. A 6-year-old boy should not have to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. As a mother, it has been inspiring to see how resilient my son is and to see the difference in him now that he’s not worrying about me. That in itself has been a huge blessing.
The weekend of February 23rd I attended the YSC Summit in Orlando. The Young Survival Coalition is a great organization that caters to young women diagnosed with Breast Cancer. This was their 20th summit and it was my first time attending. It was a such an amazing experience to be surrounded by a group of women who just “get it”. 500 survivors in the same room. That is powerful. Granted, our stories are different but the emotional roller-coaster that Cancer can cause is something we could all relate to. I finally got to meet a few women I have been following on social media and I also made some new friends. We all agreed that the summit itself was empowering, but connecting with other survivors was more impactful. I know there are Cancer patients out there that are angry and sad. I can sympathize, but I can’t relate. So it was wonderful to meet like-minded women that will celebrate with me when I do hear the good news. We encourage each other and that bond is irreplaceable.
I went to a few workshops for Metastatic Breast Cancer thrivers, but honestly, they did nothing for me. I am not there. My mindset is different than most and I am not dying today, so why focus on the negative. I rather focus my energy on living for today. I did attend a “Faith and Cancer” workshop and the presenter was amazing. I started crying when she talked about asking for help. I have a hard time asking for help. I rather do it all myself. Like most people I don’t set expectations of others because I don’t want to get disappointed. Doing everything myself makes me feel like I still has some control over my life. I know that is something I have to work on so that I don’t run myself down. I know people want to help because it makes them feel like they are doing something. They want to contribute to my healing. I don’t want to take anything away from my family and friends. Therefore, I am trying to embrace the help.
I was also blessed to hear that I was chosen as the 2018 Big Sister of the Year for the State of Florida. Amazing!!! I am so excited to experience this with my Little Sister Saleen. We get to tell people “Our” story. I was happy to win Big Sister of the year for Broward County, but winning for the state of Florida gives me a bigger platform. Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that we win Nationals. Winning for BBBS Of America opens up more doors to share my story. I don’t think I have grasped the importance of this title. I have been a Big Sister for 14 years, but I never thought that I would be recognized for volunteering my time. I love being a mentor, but my coworkers have had to remind me of how impactful my story is. When I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer I never thought about closing my match. I was actually terrified to tell my Little Sister. How was I supposed to explain to this little girl who had already experienced lose in her life that I was sick. I never wanted her to see me sick and did my best to keep in touch during my treatment. We have been matched for almost 5 years and she is a part of my family. Not even cancer was going to stop me from my commitment to her. I can only hope that she has learned something from my cancer journey. I hope she has learned to be strong and to have faith. I also hope I can inspire other people to become mentors. God has given us all a talent. You really don’t know which of your talents or gifts you can share with a child until you try. Mentoring really does matter and you can be such a positive influence in the life of a child.
I pray the blessings continue to pour over me and my family. As a survivor it’s nice to have a month full of great news, since we have had two years of bad news. It’s great to celebrate the big victories and the little ones. It can be overwhelming at times. I don’t think we are programmed to accept so many blessings all at once. But I wake up every morning with a grateful heart and I make the “choice” everyday not to sweat the small stuff. I just want people to be kind to one another. I think we have lost that. When you are confronted with your own mortality you open your mind and your heart to so many possibilities. I think about the legacy I want to leave behind and I just want my boys to be good people. Everyday is a blessing. Make today count!