My reset has changed both my work and my life. It’s hard to comprehend what happened unless I lay these events out in chronological order. My hope (and reason for sharing all of this) is to inspire and help others going through hard times as well.

Here’s a snapshot of my last five years:

  • In 2012, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. As an added bonus, I also have the BRCA2 gene defect. Instead of calling this period of time a “journey” as many do, I thought of it as crossing a bridge, one step at a time. My goal was to get to the other side.
  • In 2013, my time was spent having three surgeries and two cycles of chemo. This involved losing my hair (my pride and joy!), having horrible nausea that nothing helped and horrid bone pain in my legs. I had to stop chemo early due to the severity of the side effects. After all the treatment, I expected things to go back to “normal.” I had crossed the bridge and was ready to move on. 
  • In October of 2013, I developed pneumonia and for the next six months or so I was constantly sick with one thing or another.
  • In 2014, upon the advice of a friend I went to see an integrative medicine MD. She explained that my immune system was completely broken down. Not just from cancer and all the chemo but from the prolonged stress and grief. She helped a great deal but I still didn’t feel like my old self. I honestly didn’t know if I ever would.
  • In December of 2015, I found myself unemployed and made the decision to take some time off to buckle down and focus on my health. That time made all the difference. I uncovered several underlying health issues which helped explain the constant fatigue and low energy I was battling each day.
  • In July of 2016, I literally woke up one day and felt almost back to my “normal” self. I was beyond excited. It seemed as though that day would never come, it had been a very long road.
  • In August of 2016, I was diagnosed with an early stage skin cancer and underwent an excision. This should have been a minor procedure but due to all my previous surgeries I had multiple complications which took over a week to subside.

During my “health hiatus” from work, I concluded that I wanted to make a career change into healthcare, specifically working with cancer patients. I know it sounds like a cliché but I truly feel that it’s my calling.

It has been a long, winding and tough walk across that bridge. Getting involved with breast cancer groups, attending retreats with other cancer patients and survivors has greatly enriched my life in ways I would have never experienced without the cancer diagnosis. It may sound odd, but for that, I am grateful.  I am also still standing, heading in a new and uncharted direction.