Thank you in advance for reading this in its entirety. I've never shared my whole story in public so I hope my experience gives you pause, hope, empowerment, and that you will joyfully support me through this journey:
2011 was a life changing year for me. I was living in beautiful Auburn CA with my husband and kids. My vivacious and bigger than life daughter was 13, and my sweet, sweet kind son was 9 years old. I was also diagnosed with Breast Cancer that year. It saved my life as it simultaneously threatened to take everything from me. After two lumpectomies, I lost myself as a woman. I lost that entire summer to 30 treatments of radiation that I went to alone. I lost two years of feeling the sun on my skin because it felt like I was burning up from the inside. I found myself in a dark hole, not understanding how I got there, and no clue how to get out. I had over my earlier years learned the art of self denial, of whisking away from reality and pretending that everything was ok. I, like so many, invited in, toxicity, negativity, hopelessness, self-rejection, and that ever present feeling of never being enough. Those secrets we hold, those nagging pits in my stomach that kept knocking and saying something is wrong, were suppressed. Just go on..and pretend...it will all be ok! Until it isn't. This was the birth of my cancer. No biology explained why I ended up with breast cancer. It puzzled the doctors. A few years after my surgery, life resumed. I felt like half a woman, depressed, and lost. Consequently I initiated a divorce from my husband who is in his own right a wonderful man. We didn't know how to be our best selves for each other. I didn't know how to be my best self for myself. Somehow I managed to stumble around for a few years, as a Mom, which was my full and only purpose in life. My kids have always given me the strength to just try one more time. And then I started GETTING HELP. Let me reiterate that..I had the COURAGE to GET HELP. I went through reconstructive surgery and made my body whole again, and invited back the woman I am physically. I began meeting with mental and spiritual guides and after a few found the ones who could hold my pain. And then...I let it all go...ALL of it. The repressed childhood abuse, neglect, manipulation and molestation. The repeated abandonment, the self-deprecation, the complete disappearance of self-esteem, and the choices I made. I let it ALL fall. I cried, I talked, I wrote, I smashed a lot of dishes, and I cried some more. And then the dust settled, and the puzzle pieces, that was my shattered life, began coming together. I understood why I made so many ill advised choices and I FORGAVE myself. I FORGAVE MYSELF!! Through that still settling dust, is emerging exactly who I am meant to be. A strong, kind, loving, driven, intelligent and a powerful force that can stand side by side with others who have felt life's bitter side. Cancer started this journey for me 11 years ago, and through the ashes of sickness, despair, confusion, and darkness rose the phoenix in me that can say, "Bring it On"! I now stand shoulder to shoulder with YOU, fellow survivors, of cancer, of abuse, of neglect, of abandonment, of depression, of economic devastation, of hatred, of the war that rages inside. We aren't alone, we DO NOT HAVE TO DO LIFE ALONE. We have each other and I for one will never walk away. I will fight for YOU, and I am asking you to fight for and with me so that together we can not only help those who are weighed down under the darkness of cancer but also weighed down under what brought cancer to them. In November I will be walking 60 miles over three days in lovely San Diego. I've been training for a few months with the most remarkable survivors who will forever be my sisters. TOGETHER we will make it through blisters, soreness, fatigue and wanting to give up. But we are survivors so giving up is never an option. Today please donate generously to this journey to continue this fight and allow future walkers to say "I BEAT CANCER". Let the future be about love, kindness and joy. Donate!