Finding My Voice
My voice has become my most powerful tool, and for that, I’m appreciative that my diagnosis led me to where I am today. Cancer is life-changing, but in the journey, I learned more about myself and my health. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I thought I was living well by exercising and following a healthy diet. I’ll admit that my initial feeling after my diagnosis was that my body had somehow betrayed me. But having cancer was a wakeup call both emotionally and spiritually. Throughout treatment, I would journal and record voice memos. I used my voice memos almost as a way of praying and talking directly to God. This simple act helped me focus on myself and my emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It helped me feel connected to myself and brought me strength. I got to know myself on a deeper level than I could have imagined.
Making an Impact
I soon realized that my diagnosis had also impacted the people around me in a positive way. It woke them up, too. From friends who went out to get health insurance for the first time, to my family prioritizing their own health, my diagnosis brought about awareness. The most important one? Time. We’ve all learned how to appreciate our time together and how truly precious each moment is.
One thing I needed was a sense of control over my situation. I was lucky to have the support of an amazing team of doctors, family, and friends. Dr. Patel-Donnelly is my Oncologist, and I am so thankful to her and her team.
I wanted to feel in charge of some of my smaller moments. Before cancer, my hair was my canvas. When I realized that chemo might take my hair, I got over the initial shock and took a pause. Where in the situation did I still have control? It was in the present. So, I decided to change up my hair, changing the color, the cut, the style. I did everything I’d ever wanted to try. I enjoyed each moment of it—it gave me the sense of control that I needed at the time. Now that my hair has grown back, I appreciate it in another way. Cancer has sent me a rebirth.
I’m often asked which resources helped me in my cancer journey. For me, I found journaling, both on paper and in voice memos, to be very cathartic. Sometimes with a diagnosis, it may seem that others don’t understand—through no fault of their own. Getting involved in a support group where you can connect with others who have gone through the same thing may help. For me, I was able to find a community after treatment. Take the initiative to attend these groups, even virtually, to see what they have to offer. Even if it’s not for you, it’s important to try and find that connection.
After treatment, I was able to complete my Master of Public Health, and since then, I’ve also started an event planning and design business called Flow Entertainment.
My cancer journey has also impacted my future goals. I’m still health-driven, but my experience has allowed me the courage to explore outside of the classroom. I wanted to do more to engage in health—the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects. That is what lead me to create Eyermbr, It’s mission: Enriching the mind, body, and soul of the female to maximize her purpose and impact. I’ve traveled the world and brought back lessons of this travel to my community through a coaching program for young adult women. It was important for me to have a positive impact on the female mind, body, and spirit, especially the women who were like me – cancer survivors. Cancer helped shift my focus, and in turn, I wanted to help bring out the inner strength in others.
Although dealing with cancer was life changing, I have to say the biggest gift it gave me was helping me find the strength of my voice. And for that, I am grateful.