It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted — and for good reason. On Feburary 7, 2014, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Since then, I have undergone a lumpectomy and four rounds of chemo. I have 12 rounds to go — along with 6 weeks of radiation. I’ve lost my hair and my schedule revolves around the next treatment and whether it will bring side effects. The good news: I’ve been able to run and strength train between treatments.
When it first happened, I asked Why me? I’ve been working out regularly for over 20 years. I eat the right things. I have relatively low stress in my life. There is no good reason for me to be struck with breast cancer except for maybe hormones. But Why me? is not a productive question. It produces self-pity and anger. So I decided to change that question to How can God use this for good? Since shifting my mindset, many amazing things have happened. I run despite the chemo treatments, and many have been inspired to start a fitness program. They reason: If Annie can run on chemo, surely I can too.
I threw a Hair Shaving Party (http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0E02BFNU) when I knew I was going to lose my hair. I celebrated this cancer milestone with 50 friends and family, replete with a buffet, photo booth and decorations. I did it because many women have said hair loss was the most traumatic aspect aspect of treatment. I decided to be proactive by making it a party. My hair-stylist friend volunteered to shave my head — and her attitude set the tone. We laughed — and shed very few tears — while my hair flew away with the wind. My brother is a professional photographer, and he captured the day through video and film for me. What could have been one of the worst days of my life, was one of the BEST days of my life. Many of my cancer buddies have had their own hair shaving parties as a result.
If any of you should experience a health setback in the future, I hope that you’ll remember me and pause. Eliminate the Why me? question, and ask instead Why not me? How can this be used for good? Who can I inspire?