Those are the words that were spoken to my completely shocked 18-year-old self-back on that fateful day. I was a young city girl from Jersey and spent my youthful years in south Florida. I had big goals and huge dreams and desires to fulfill. I wanted to make a difference in this world. In order to make my dreams come true, I left my friends and family and went into the military. For the first time in my life, I had the freedom to make my own choices and decisions. Every teenagers dream, right?
During my time in the military, I received a notice from the medical requesting a mandatory chest x-ray. I was baffled by this request and just shrug it off. I eventually did the x-ray and didn’t put another thought to it. About a month later, I went to my medical appointment and my medical lieutenant sat me down in his office to discuss my results.
He explains to me that I have this massive tumor on my chest and my blood work results were abnormal. How could this be? I was in the best shape of my life and showed absolutely no symptoms at the time.
I was in complete denial. I didn’t feel like my strong youth body had cancer, nor did I look like I had anything that is wrong with me. There were no symptoms.
Reality hit me hard after my biopsy. I was officially diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma and with such a large mass, you have about 3 months to live.
Shocked. Scared. Sad. Angry. I went through all the emotions.
In the state of confusion, I wondered. What have I done wrong to myself. I ate healthy. I was in the best shape my life. Just like any other teenager, I had my occasional junk food and chocolate bars but in moderation. I never did drugs or even a cigarette. I contemplated, what did I do wrong? I had to done something wrong that God was punishing me?
I was alone during this process. I had no family with me. No one to support me, no one to lean or cry on. It was just me and my thoughts.
Determined to push through the fear, I wasn’t going to allow those fearful thoughts to take over.
As I contemplated, I knew there was something deep in my heart that this was something that I had to go through. This was a challenge or some test that I had to go through. I knew that there was a possibility that I can overcome this. I made it a mission to listen wisely and in the process, live the life the best that I can with the little time that I had.
My lieutenant called me in for another appointment. This time to tell me the military doesn’t have the resources to help but he applied and was accepted to be part of a research study in a pediatric program for terminal diagnosed patients with sarcoma. Finally, there was hope.
I experienced more surgeries, procedures, prodding and more prodding than any young human should ever have to endure. Every single cell in my body was dying from the daily chemotherapy session, and every day I was sicker and weaker than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I had ribs, lungs, lymph nodes removed on my chest wall. Granted, I was still breathing.
Other pediatrics patients in my unit, from babies to teenagers weren’t so lucky. Many were coming in and passing away on a weekly basis. The grief was palpable and almost unbearable. I grieved and wish that I can switch places with these beautiful young souls. It is nothing short of a miracle that I am even here to tell this story today — one of the few lucky ones to survive.
I will be honest, I knew I was slowly dying. I could feel my body eating itself up. There were times when I didn’t want to go on – when I didn’t think I could go on. At one point, I had lost so much weight that my body was just skin and bones and couldn’t stop getting sick. One day, I had enough, I cried out to my nurse, “ I don’t want to be awake anymore.” I got up off the bed, shut my machine off, and disconnected my port line from my chest. As I begin to walk away, everything began to fade, and I passed out.
In that moment, something miraculous happen.
This is when I came face to face with a miraculous light, a huge field of energy emanating the most amazing feeling of pure unconditional love. This overall feeling of peace and bliss. It begins to feel familiar and I knew I was in home.
At that moment, I became emotional and didn’t want to go home. I needed to go back. All these memories that I had to fulfill, and I wasn’t done living. I have no other way to explain it, but a healing went into my soul. I chosen to come back. I awaken back in my bed in the hospital and began to cry uncontrollably.
Of course, I questioned, “Did that really happen?” This is something that no one will forget. Everything in the world seem different. Awakening with a new perspective in life and an ability to feel others pain and intentions.
Unlike many patients in the hospital, I made a miraculous recovery. As of today, I am a miracle. When I once thought that I would never make it out alive. I was gifted a second chance on life.
You see, we all have a have a deep unexplained inner connection with God or Ultimate light source (What ever label you choose) . All of us. I never had a father growing up. My family was faraway. Which turned out to be a blessing. My loneliness allowed me to tap into and connect to a higher-source to find out we are never alone. In hindsight, this was such a gift.
Eventually, I mustered up the courage to forgive my past and move forward. I had a lot of healing to do. Despite my deteriorate body, life became pretty amazing.
As the years went by, I wasn’t sure if the cancer was going to return but I wasn’t going to wait or play the victim of a cancer survivor. I took control of my life and went to college, earned my Bachelor’s degree, and worked at NASA. I married the man of my dreams, and despite the doctors, telling me that I’ll never have children, I gave birth to five beautiful children.
Later became an IronMan Finisher (in case you don’t know, it’s a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run) despite 4 months prior to having knee surgery. I didn’t take the path of least resistance. This gave me 10 weeks to train. When things like this happens, we wondered, why does life have to be so difficult? You see, we all have our doubts, anger, and frustrations and say, “Why me”? But when you feel like the whole world is coming at out? You are about to have a massive breakthrough. You are hitting an area that most people don’t make it through. Don’t quit!! When that breakthrough happens, you’re going to say, WOW, I’m actually here. I’m doing it and you will hear those words, You Are an Ironman. Yes, I am an Iron Woman.
There was just one thing missing. I still had that massive life purpose to fulfill. And, of course, in 2017 the Universe has a (not-so) subtle way of reminding us why we’re here.
I was told, “A few hours later and you could have died.”
These are the words I heard from my ER doctor after being taken to the Emergency room for acute appendicitis — 19 years after hearing the “3 months to live” diagnosis as my teenage-self. My body had gone septic from a slow leaking appendix. It was the 2rd time in my life that I had come face-to-face with death, but this time something deeply stirred in me.
A person may go to a great college, get straight A’s, land an amazing job but sometimes there’s that voice that that whispers inside you that say’s, “Are you living your truth” “It’s time to do something more with my life.” It was a wake-up call, for sure.
My soul-purpose work in the world is to inspire and help others transform, like I have. Don’t spend years running from fear of sharing your truth, your story, your unique gifts until it’s too late. I stand for all people to discover their hearts desires and ignite their creative passion … no matter what obstacles that are in the way. We are all magnificent beings with the power to overcome and create anything we want in life. We are born to create. Ask yourself, “What are you going to create”.
My advice to you: live your life like you have one month to live. Write a letter expressing everything you’ve accomplished and what you want to accomplish in this lifetime that will make a difference in this world. And, then, go out and do it. Now. The time is now!
You’re not here to simply “get by,” but to enjoy the magic of life each day.
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