9 years ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was 25 and according to most people, I was too young to be a cancer patient. I was misdiagnosed for a while. By the time we know what it was, “Alfred” (that’s what my friends and I named my tumor) had grown to an impressive 14.5 inches and weighed in at 10 lbs.
I was looking forward to finishing my Associates Degree to hanging out with my friends for the summer. Sometimes I look back on that summer and think, “Man that summer SUCKED!”…And then I think that was the moment my life changed.
It changed in some ways for the worst. I entered early menopause. I’m not able to have kids. Chemotherapy…YUCK. Not to mention the emotional baggage that you accrue when you are diagnosed, during therapy, and after.
But that is not all that happened when I got diagnosed with stage 4 malignant dysgerminoma. I also gained perspective. I have made the decision that I would take chances. That I would fight for the things that I wanted. That I would work just as hard as hard as I played. I decided that I would try my very best not to be afraid of the challenges that life was going to throw at me. In short, sometimes our trials define us. But there is no set rule that says we, the survivors, cannot set the definition parameters.
After treatment I went to finish my degree at Western Oregon University. I was awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship that paid for Graduate School. I currently am the head of the voice department at the St. Lucia School of Music. I love my job. I love my life. I am incredibly grateful for my family, and friends that were my superstars during my treatment. My doctors were awesome. Cancer changed my life. But I am survivor who sets her own definitions…. and rocks some teal. 🙂