Saturday, September 29, 2012

#Delhi2013 is My Fresh Chapter

For those of you who don't know, I want to go on a trip to India with 12 other cancer survivors. Terri Wingham, a trailblazer in the cancer (survivorship) world, it taking 12 survivors to India for two weeks in February to volunteer, give back and find a little bit out about themselves.

Terri has asked that all applicants write a blog entry with a max of 500 words about why they are ready for A Fresh Chapter (which is the name of Terri's blog and foundation).

Here's my entry...

After being told for seven months that 'it was nothing', on March 11th, 2011, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at the age of 26. With no family history of the disease and being otherwise healthy, being blindsided is the only way I know how to describe my diagnosis.

I had a mastectomy 17 days after hearing the news and then went through six aggressive chemo treatments. As I approached the end of treatment, I kept thinking 'It's almost over' but I soon realized that even though treatment was coming to an end, cancer is never over.

I went through a transition or 'cancer limbo' as I like to call it where I couldn't identify as a patient any more but I certainly didn't feel like a survivor. As a part of this transition, I also had to get used to my new (post-treatment) normal.

When I finished treatment, I felt like everyone around me took a huge sigh of relief, and I took a huge sigh of 'what now?' I somewhat feel that it was the end of treatment where my journey really began. I am trying to find a place for myself in this world now. I am trying to balance my cancer life and my career, my personal life, and my relationships.

I don't think I necessarily understood how much of a void cancer left in my life until I read Terri's blog about taking a group of 12 survivors to India. I was in tears after reading about the trip and I knew I had to be one of those 12 survivors. #Delhi2013 gives me a sense of purpose, a way to give back (or pay forward what so many people did for me), a way to help others when I know so much about needing help.

Cancer can be (and was) so isolating and to be able to volunteer in a country like India gives me hope; hope for learning about others, hope for learning about myself and hope for my future as a healed (not to be confused with 'cured') breast cancer survivor.

I think this trip would provide a lot of emotional healing that I may not be able to find in another capacity. Having been out of treatment for a year now, I think I am ready to grow as an individual and truly learn what it means to start a fresh chapter.

'Sometimes you need to be on the other side to find your way back to yourself.'


  1. Beautiful. So excited to see #delhi2013 become your dream and to see if it can help you start A Fresh Chapter in your life. Big hugs my friend!

  2. Ooh that gave me shivers just reading it. I hope you will get to go on this trip and may it bring you everything you are still searching for! I am still in the middle of treatment and I try to to focus on this.. but somewhere in the back of my mind I already know nothing will ever be the same anymore. So I think you'll be doing a great job over there!

    1. Ahhh Ciel, you are so fantastic. Thank you for the kind words.

      You're right, nothing seems to be the same any more. Cancer doesn't just change every thing during treatment, it seems to change the rest of your life.

      How many more treatments do you have?

    2. I just finished rad 11 and need to do 10 more. Then it's 8 chemo and 13x herceptin.