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Choosing Joy After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Choosing Joy After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

In May 2017 at 32 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 3C Invasive Ductal Carcinoma that had reached my lymph nodes.

I was still breastfeeding and thought my lump was a clogged milk duct. I felt the lump for almost a year before I finally was diagnosed. I went through 5 1/2 months of chemotherapy, a unilateral mastectomy, 30 consecutive days of radiation, 5 months of chemotherapy pills and full reconstruction surgery. I am now on Tamoxifen to keep my cancer from returning.

When first diagnosed I remember saying to my husband that we had to choose the light in this whole situation and that I could not allow the darkness to swallow me up.

I have chosen joy. I seek out happiness at every turn, I embrace beautiful chaos, and I try to lighten any heavy situation with some perspective.

Cancer truly saved my life. It opened me up to living life so much better than I was. Cancer made me a better person. I realized that life is so fleeting and it is so easy to get bogged down with all the hoopla of your day to day schedule. I fought my way out of that, I chose to live my life differently, more boldly, more lovingly, more fearlessly than ever before. I decided to beat my cancer by how I lived my life.

Everyone has a struggle. Everyone. But everyone also can choose to live the very best life they can regardless of what battle they are facing. Be better. Love others wholly, support other people by being present.

I have committed to always being there for anyone I hear of diagnosed with cancer, even if I don't know them because no one should face this alone. The most that cancer warriors want is their tribe to be present. Don't be afraid to drop by unannounced with something special, show up to watch their kids or do their laundry or mop their floor. Just keep showing up. That is our greatest fear, is that people will forget. 

My husband and mom make an incredible difference in my life and are my heroes. Being a caretaker is so hard, and they both do it without complaint. My husband is such a hard worker, and we have sacrificed so much and risked so much because we have learned that certain things don't matter that much anymore... the money, the stuff. We want experiences; we want togetherness. My mom is so selfless; she will do all the hard things that no one wants to do to take care of her daughter and granddaughters. That is love.

You can continue to follow Lauren's journey on Instagram @be_still_and_smile.

Submitted by: Lauren Meyers


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