I've never met Carolyn in person. She was what I guess you could call an internet 'survivor hook up'. She's a friend of a friend who read my blog and decided to write to me.
What we have in common is that we both have metastatic breast cancer. What we don't have in common is that, while I'm in my 50s and my son is grown, Carolyn is only 38 years old and has 2 small boys (4 and 3).
Carolyn was first diagnosed in 2006 when she finished breast feeding and soon discovered that it was in her bones. She was on chemo (Taxotere) for a whole year but still managed to do the 60 km weekend walk to end breast cancer the past two years. I admire her determination and commitment to spending quality time with her family.Carolyn writes:
Cancer changed my way of thinking about life. I have two young boys and if I hadn’t gotten diagnosed I would have continued to work and rush home to feed the kids so I can get them to bed, etc. Now I am taking the time to smell the roses with them. Mentally, it has made me draw on my sports mental skills of filing away mistakes you make, now I try to file away the anxiety that I feel at times. Physically, I eat better now than I did before, mostly organic, I read labels and I have very little processed food. Emotionally, I still cry and get overwhelmed with emotion wondering whether I will be around to see my kids graduate…or worse yet, get to kindergarten.
I draw my strength from my children. I see life for what it is and I try not to let the little stuff bother me anymore. You can’t let the cancer beat you, so you have to file it away. You have to carry on, do things so that your mind doesn’t wander into the negative realms that cancer brings. Be inspiring to the next one diagnosed and love with all your heart.