Cancer was a transformative experience for me. It has instilled blessings in my heart that I would never otherwise have had and it has created a profound gratitude for literally every moment of my life today.
It began with “you have cancer.” Hearing those words felt surreal. I remember sitting aghast in the doctor’s office and turned my gaze out the window. A vivacious woman walking along the sidewalk below captured my attention as she greeted others happily. Her vim and vigor provided a fierce vision of what I held onto so tightly during my experience with cancer. My goal was walking energetically with all that vim and vigor I’d always had too.
In retrospect, there were definitely signs that something was wrong, but I completely missed putting them all together. I knew that I was really exhausted, I had extensive night sweats, and I also had developed an intense rash on both hands and eyelids that was chalked up to eczema.
After learning that my leukemia was very aggressive, a worldwide search was conducted for a bone marrow because my only brother was not a match. I am alive today only because of the kindness of a complete stranger halfway around the world. My donor, a young man from Germany lit my path with fierce hope that I would get to live. This hope empowered me through all the complications that were to follow including receiving a double lung transplant three years later.
I feel as though it has given me my wings to fly. I get to be mama and I get to be my babies’ loudest cheerleader every step of the way!