Hi, I’m Tracy. Once upon a fairly recent time, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and it totally changed my life. This year there will be at least 250k others diagnosed with the same. Although we are all completely different, we share something unique and special. Welcome to my blog – let’s see how it goes.
My plan is to share random cancer-related inspiration, practices, experiences, triumphs, and humor (it’s ok to laugh, really) with anyone who finds my perspective interesting, uplifting, ridiculous, annoying or genius. Some of my posts are about cancer and some are about things like self-reflection and love and gratitude. My hope is that I will bring together a community of people who may or may not have been affected by cancer or other potentially negative afflictions, as well as anybody else interested in practicing a mindful, positive approach to living life.
Here’s why I’m not doing this. I’m not doing this to soapbox, grandstand, dispense medical advice, profess infinite wisdom, garner pity, reveal cutting edge but little known breakthroughs in cancer research, create controversy, or attract and provide a forum for offensive, intolerant blog commentators that have nothing better to do with their time than criticize others (in fact, get over yourselves, people like that). I’m pretty certain that other reasons to not do this will reveal themselves in time – many of which will have something to do with people telling me I’m clueless and make a lot of typos– but I can deal. I had breast cancer so I’m super tough now.
Here are a few reasons why I am doing this. I can’t sleep because I spend half the night trying to remember stuff to tell people with breast cancer, most of whom I’ve never even met. I know there’s already loads of stuff on the internet about cancer, but when I looked for what I needed to help me get a grip on things, I came up short. I wanted to find information on things like “what to wear when you go from a 34D to a training bra.” Nothing. Or “how to get your dress over your head, post-mastectomy.” Nada. That was discouraging, particularly because I consider myself to be an excellent googled. Since starting this blog, I’ve come to realize that there is much more I’m searching for.
Writing helps me wrap my brain around some pretty cool stuff, and it makes me a better person. I determined, early on, to gain something from this deal besides drugs and time off, and opted for personal growth. Because life with cancer, and life in general for that matter, is dynamic, and has infinite nuances, the evolution of this project will likely be, too. I’ve updated this post countless times in the last couple months because my experience continues to impact my life in new ways.
Having cancer is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Being told that I had cancer lumped me into a demographic that I didn’t want to be a part of. I was suddenly a statistic, my data a plot on a scatter point chart. This didn’t sit well with me. I wasn’t willing to not be who I was the day before my diagnosis. Still, I felt myself reaching out to other women who had shared the experience and seized every opportunity to share stories. Sometimes I left these conversations feeling better and other times ready to crawl under a rock. It occurred to me then that I needed to be very careful that my glass stay half full, and surround myself with positive energy. If I had to have cancer, which apparently I did, I wanted to sit at the cool kids’ table with the jocks and cheerleaders, fit and stylish.
Cancer is unique to everyone because everyone is unique. Following this logic, our goal should be to retain our uniqueness. Just because we have cancer doesn’t mean we are cancer. We arrived to this place from diverse social groups, with individual style, personalities, and perspectives. I am grateful that I was able to find a way to stay positive through all of this, and hope that some of my stories will inspire others to find the their own cancer coping mojo.
The bond between us should be a positive one, forged through the collective insight we’ve been given through this beast. Cancer sucks, and it changes you, but it doesn’t have to call every shot in your life. Why not make a few positive changes of your own? Even the darkest days offer gifts, should you choose to accept them. For me, those gifts have been a heightened ability to give and accept love, to leave in a state of peace and to practice gratitude for the endless blessings I’ve been given and to be happy. I may not be in control of everything that comes my way, but I am, most definitely, in control of that.
Welcome to my blog. Be well.