Full disclosure. I’ve worked really hard over the last 9 years to put my cancer treatment and journey behind me. I am really a master, it seems, of compartmentalizing (almost all) experiences that were traumatic in my life. A great coping skill to eliminate emotional baggage. After fighting cancer, I liked to say, “I will not let cancer define me.” And I was adamant about it.
But the truth of the matter is cancer has defined me. The experience truly made me who I am today. I can’t deny it. I am brighter, shinier, stronger. It is the reason The GEM is here.
I came to this realization while recently attending a luncheon honoring a fabulous GEM friend and cancer survivor. This event raised millions for the fight against breast cancer — providing access to advanced diagnostic equipment, innovative clinical research, and most importantly, safe, quality, compassionate care for those fighting cancer. Awesome. The theme was about acknowledging all that cancer brings: anger, fear, hope, love, courage, commitment and acknowledging that together we are strong and together we can do it. I expected that. But as I pushed around the almonds on my banquet arugula salad, something rocked me like a hurricane.
I experienced something profound. And unexpected.
As I listened to the stories of others affected by cancer, I became overwhelmed by a sense of immeasurable gratitude. Gratitude for the experience fighting cancer brought me. For the incredible care I was afforded in Dallas. The love and care shown me by friends. This support system is the reason I survived. The reason I thrive.
CANCER CHANGED MY LIFE
Fighting cancer impacted my life in 3 three ways:
- Made me more grateful and mindful of the blessings in my life: My husband who is solid gold. My parents’ unwavering support. My cadre of Rockstar friends. My health. I FIND GRATITUDE in every moment. That kind of positive perspective changes the reality of things.
- Changed how I responded to conflict. I breathe deep and know I will GATHER MY PEACE. Because at the end of the day, is it really worth it to stress and blow over big and small stuff? Hell no.
- Transformed how I looked at FOOD, and the POWER of it on my physical and mental health. The GEM is the manifestation of my new view on all that nourishes me.
FIGHTING CANCER CONTINUES
To continue my cancer-free life, I now do these three things every day to launch a preemptive strike in the fight against the disease:
- Wake each morning to 32 oz. of water, deep breathing, and organic green tea. This routine includes listing three things I am grateful for. This changes my situational perspective. (Here’s one way you can use your morning routine to brighten your day.)
- Surround myself with shiny, happy people and places that lift me up. I find all of that
inside The GEM community!
- Eat GREEN and CLEAN. Drink my celery juice first thing. By 11 a.m., I’ve already knocked back a kickass cup of MVP soup. (That means I’ve had seven servings of veggies before noon!). You can start by adding one extra green to every meal. It makes a big difference in my energy, mood, and waistline.
The truth is I’m grateful for what cancer has done in my life and the person I’ve become. Cancer does define me. And I’m proud of that. Thanks for allowing me to be honest. With you. With myself.