The one year anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with cancer is this month. It was a Thursday afternoon, and I was at work when I received a phone call from my doctor’s office.
“Hi Estee, the doctor would like you to call her directly. Here’s her number.”
I stepped outside and called her only to hear the news no one wants to receive.
“Estee, sweet Estee, you have cancer.”
A lot has changed since that day. Although I would have never chosen to have cancer, I must say, I feel more complete because I have had cancer. Cancer has made me a better person. I am more calm, more empathetic, more patient. I live more in the moment. I don’t stress about the little things. My pain tolerance is higher. Cancer shattered some illusions I was holding onto about life and how it’s supposed to be: the biggest one being this illusion that I have some sort of control over my life. The greatest thing I could have done when I had cancer was to let go. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to change the course of my body’s development. I just had to wait, to let my body fight, to allow myself to heal. What a strange place to be for a woman who prided herself on being independent and “in control.” Now, I find life much more exciting because I don’t know what is going to happen next. I choose to focus more on how I can be reactive and adaptive to the unexpectedness. I doubt I would have ever come to this place without cancer, and I am sure as my life goes on, I will reach more and more clarity about why this disease has happened to me.
The other day I received a phone call to schedule my last surgery. Soon, I will have these expanders out, and I will be living my “new normal” life as Estee 2.0. My 30th birthday is coming up, my wedding is coming up, and I want to continue this blog despite being finished with cancer because I want to be an example of a woman who has persevered. If someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer has stumbled upon this blog, I want you to know that there is hope. Stay present. Stay curious. Keep fighting. Never give up.