"Life's not fair. So what?" This was a phrase my father often repeated throughout my childhood. I imagine it passed through his mind late one night in January of 2013 when he suddenly died of a heart attack. I know it certainly ran through mine.
You might not guess it with such a seemingly cynical worldview, but my dad was a motivational speaker. He would send my sister and I daily text messages telling us how wonderful and unique we were. Things like "You are not the apple of my eye, you are the orchard." or "You are a star. Shining brightly. One in a billion."
I don't know if I'm one in a billion, but in October of 2013, I discovered I was at least one in two thousand. Only ONE in TWO THOUSAND women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their twenties. I am one of the chosen. Lucky me.
Actually, without any sarcasm... I do feel lucky--not because I have cancer, but because thankfully I'm a person for whom happiness comes easily and even with everything that has happened over the last year I can't help but feel optimistic about what's next. It's annoying. I know. But, while I was undergoing treatment for this illness, I was well enough to continue doing what I love to do: act, write, and tell the stories I feel need to be heard. For that, I am beyond grateful.
This is the home of my Video Blog or "Vlog" (as I have come to learn it is to be called). This "Vlog" will chronicle my experiences with breast cancer. I do not intend this to represent the story of every woman who has ever had cancer, but I hope that parts of my story will resonate with cancer patients, caregivers, and their families and friends.
I hope it will resonate with anyone who has felt frustrated with our medical system, or grateful to have an advocate. Anyone who has been scared and vulnerable, anyone who has been overjoyed and optimistic, anyone who is a woman, anyone who is a man, anyone who is a member of the human race. I hope maybe you'll relate to something in my quirky vlog. (It's a weird word right?) If you don't, I hope you'll laugh and/or cry anyway.
My greatest, most selfish hope is that one day when I've bid farewell to my twenties (many, many, many years from now); I will look back at having cancer as just another stupid thing that went on during this tumultuous decade. I hope cancer will be a stupid six-month blip that I'll file away next to the time I had my purse stolen in Union Square or that night I went home with my English professor.
I don't want cancer to define me. It's just one thing that happened... But it's still a thing that I want to share, if that's cool with you. Join me for the journey and enjoy my vlogs (I'm starting to get used to it). They will be posted weekly(ish). I'm so excited and I hope you are too.
Photo By Laura Pennace at pennacephotography.com