Originally posted on No Sweat York, December 30, 2016
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer.
Two years later, cancer struck again in a new form — breast cancer.
I had 26 months as a cancer patient to reflect. And like many others who have suffered through a chronic disease or life-threatening illness or injury, I reevaluated my life. The quest to be well taxed my spiritual, physical and emotional health. And I’ve learned a lot.
My Christian faith did not waver — it carried me through the difficult times.
What has changed is my faith in others and my faith in myself.
I’ve always believed I had to be this super-strong, organized woman to help others succeed in life. I had to be in constant control, even when I was ill.
When I received the first cancer diagnosis I made a decision to share my story on blogs and social media. I realized that sharing my burden with others didn’t make me weak, it made me a million times stronger.
Surgery, radiation, injections and medication were physically challenging. But my fitness level helped my body heal quickly, and continued exercise staved off side effects from treatment. Staying active kept my body strong, gave me stability in my routine and helped my mind remain clear.
It wasn’t always easy. When I was first diagnosed, I went into battle mode. But after six months of fighting I got scared — genetic testing of the eye tumor showed that it was a deadly form. So I reverted back to what I knew. I was “Cori in control,” trying to fight off the fear that consumed me.
“So, what’s your five-year plan?” my husband’s best friend asked me.
He was calling me out on my incessant need for planning. His question made me realize that I needed to make a life change. I couldn’t plan this cancer away. And if I tried to, I might miss out on all of the things happening here and now.
So I made a change.
I deserve to spend time doing the things I enjoy, even if I haven’t finished all of the chores on my self-imposed list.
I’m committed to being present and less worried about being perfect.
I no longer work an 80-hour work week. I unplug from email after 9 p.m. and rarely access it on the weekends. Instead I enjoy conversation, hikes and yoga classes with family and my friends.
And my five-year plan includes being impeccable to my word, exercising as much as I want, traveling and spending time with those whom I love dearly.
I recently received the news that I am cancer-free; all original cancer sites are gone and my liver, brain, lungs and lymph system is healthy and clean.
And as the end of 2016 draws near, I cannot help but reflect on the past year and my high hopes for a healthy 2017.