1. How did you learn that you have cancer? How did you come to terms with your diagnosis?
I was initially diagnosed with a fibroid tumor while I was pregnant with my first child. I later found out after surgery that it was Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Usually, the typical mesothelioma patient is a white male older than 65 with a blue-collar or military background. Most patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma at 65 years of age or older. Talk about your atypical patient, that was me! It was definitely a shock to my system, being that I was only 21 and just had given birth. I had to sit in my feelings for a while to come to terms with the diagnosis. My faith kicked in and I was determined to beat the cancer. Which I did!
2. What surprised you most about your experience with cancer?
My strength and determination surprised me. The saying goes, “You never know how strong you are until adversity comes your way.” For the most part in the beginning of my diagnosis it was a roller coaster ride. One minute I was up probably in denial and the next min I was at a breaking point where I had to have a moment of release. As the days went by, I grabbed hope from out of the darkness of my situation and mustard up some faith.
3. What did you learn from this experience or what advice do you have that will be helpful for others faced with a similar journey?
Lessons I’ve learned:
Give yourself grace– having mesothelioma isn’t a walk in the park. Giving yourself grace allows you to know that yes you probably can do everything but you shouldn’t do everything
Patience is a virtue– it may sound cliche but it’s so true. Waiting for appointments, test, scans, treatments, surgery, results, etc. will definitely make you have patience
Your journey can help someone else
I have so much gratitude knowing that my story can help to inspire others and give them hope and encouragement. So whichever part of your journey you may be on find whatever works best for you to cope with cancer.