4 Years Since TNBC Diagnosis

Today marks the 4-year anniversary of the dreaded phone call that delivered my biopsy results with cancerous cells. As a cancer warrior, you understand the weight of every second when those words are spoken. For me, it was on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon. I was hanging up pictures, the sliding glass door wide open, and the air fresh, clean, and crisp. My phone rang, and it was my doctor. "Your biopsy results came back; it's cancer," he said. My life flashed before my eyes, feeling light-headed, tears welling up. It was like an out-of-body experience—numb and zombie-like. My doctor had already set up an appointment with the breast cancer surgeon. Then he asked, "What are you feeling?" I replied in a cracked voice, "I'm just really sad..."

Sitting on my makeup vanity seat, I gazed out the sliding glass door, feeling the breeze on my face. I realized I'd never sat there admiring the private backyard off our bedroom in the 9 years I'd lived there. Every little detail, I now noticed. Flashbacks of my father dying from lung cancer ran through my mind. I was scared shitless. I didn't want to be sick, weak, or have this disease take my life. I've never been good with losing control, briefly considering, "What do I have in my medicine cabinet right now that I can take to end my life on my terms? Cancer will not make that choice for me." It was a dark, scary, and unsettling feeling I'd never experienced before.

When diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, I often wondered if I'd manifested cancer into my life. If I did, why did the universe, God, or the higher power choose to deliver it to me? I'm not sure I'll ever truly understand why, and I'm done trying to figure that part out. But one thing I do know is that I need to make my experience available to everyone and help as many people as I can.

My girlfriend, also a breast cancer warrior, said to me, "Darling, when this is over, you will look back on this, and it will feel like a bad dream." I didn't believe her words at the time. But sitting here 4 years later, that's exactly what it feels like—a nightmare behind me. I'm proud of what my body endured, of where I was able to keep my mindset and focus. I'm grateful that I woke up this morning with air in my lungs and another chance at life. I'm blessed that cancer came into my life uninvited and showed me what it's like to really live, love, and experience life to the fullest.

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