The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 12, 2015 at the age of 26… I of course cried due to fear of the unknown. Telling my friends and family had to be the worst part because I didnt want to scare them with this very unexpected diagnosis I just received.
Truth is like my little sister Jill aka Dr. Jill (yes a play off of Dr. Phil), always says… “Its not like the cancer just appeared on that day… Ive been living with it in my body for months, so why completely change my outlook on life now?” This is so so true. ..
I have always tried to be a positive person. I live my life to help others, whether it be my family, friends, or people with desperate signs standing on the road. This one time me and my friends Dustin and Ry Ry went out to the mall when we were in college and grabbed subway for lunch to eat back at our dorm. As Dustin was driving and I was in the passenger seat, we came to a red light. On the left side of the road stood a man with a sign not asking for money, but asking for food and prayers.
Me holding a bag of 3 footlongs without thinking, I jumped out of the car and handed the man hopefully a few meals to keep his energy and positivity going. The look on that mans face will forever be engrained in my mind. He was so shocked and simply said “God Bless You”, which to me was so powerful.
I jumped back in the car just in time for the light to turn green, with 2 pretty angry and hungry boys because I just handed over their grub. — Dont worry I went back out to feed the boys;) its just things like that are what Im called to do… I dont even think about it half of the time!
I attended Misericordia University in Dallas Pa, the most amazing college where I always described it as a “happy bubble”! It is founded by the four charisms of Mercy, Service, Justice, and Hospitality… And truly the students that attend without even thinking would practice those acts daily!
I had the opportunity to make lifelong friends (shout out to the MU swim team🏊🏻) who I would literally consider my family! When I found out the news of my cancer, one of my very good friends from MU, Kera Hope within minutes of my post to my friends took it upon herself to start a GoFund Me page which has literally helped me pay bills these past few months! Of not working! With 2 weeks notice, every single one of my MU friends aside from Cali Boy Dustin who has an excuse, was in Pittsburgh on halloween… Not for a costume party but to make my fairytale wedding come to life! Thank you all, you will never know how much I appreciated you being there!
To my new Pittsburgh friends, when I decided to move here, my biggest concern was that all my friends lived so far away. John has such an amazing group of friends and since day one theyve accepted me with open arms.
Back to my hair dilemma… when I shaved my head, I was sooooo embarrased and scared to be around friends because I didnt want them to think of me as different or be weirded out. The first party together I wore my wig, the next I went bald and everyone was amazingly open and dint make it a big deal at all! So, thank you for giving me the strength and courage I needed to accept my baldness! Xo Everyday the girls text me, check on me, and ask me what they can do to help! I am so so blessed for all of you, and so is John!
At Misericordia, I had the opportunity to become involved with campus ministry and took an alternative religious class where I was able to go to Guyana South America to work in hospitals, rehab centers, schools and orphanages! The boys of St. John Bosco orphange truly left a mArk on my life… And I will forever be connected to them whether im there or here!
After my first international trip, I knew I had to return, and my friend Jeff and I did just that! I started an organization Gifts for Guyana and every year (aside from this one due to my circumstances) I was able to get their Christmas lists and make all their wishes come true with the help of my friends and family!
Even though I have cancer, my life is NOT over, actually it has just begun! Im married now! I have met the most amazing people along this journey! Jamie Holmes from Jamies Dream Team has opened her arms and loving heart and has allowed me to share in her passion of making sick childrens dreams come true! Sasha Danielle Hall is not only the amaing photographer who donated time to my wedding, but also a truly magical friend, and Pul Saunders, where do I even begin! He has spend endless hours editing my wedding video, video of me shaving my head, and even a video to slow down johns sperm after our fertility appointment! He is so amazing!!! 👏🏻👏🏻I am truly so blessed to be continuing my journey of helping others right here in my own backyard!
My point is this… Getting any diagnosis is sad, im angry sometimes, and of course fearful of the whatifs… But without my family, my mom for being here days after chemo, my dad for researching cures on google even though ive told him a kazillion times to not believe everything you read, my sisters for being my rock, shavin their heads, and doing whatever they have to do to keep a smile on my face, my in laws for bringing us dinner, taking Izzy and hlping whenever they can, my brother in law for shaving his head and always providing me comic relief, my cousin for driving endless hours to plan my wedding and help me when I need help, and my friends and family… Its the simple things like the cards, donations, gifts, and texts that truly keep me going so thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So where do I get my positivity from? I get it from all of you! Everyday that I drag myself out of bed, its for all the amazing people in my life. There has been 1 day throughout this journey that I ever asked John if he thought I would die because of this illness and he 1. Looked at me like I was nuts, and 2. Said “um absolutely Not” and i believe him! By reading blogs that are sad or full of those scary thoughts… Thats what kills my vibe so I refuse. Ive realized that my job through this is to spread my story as well as comic relief… Because if you cant smile through this journey youll never make it!
I want to end with a quote that I hold near and dear to my heart…