Evolving Thriver

Since battling breast cancer in 2016/2017, I always considered myself a survivor. After pursuing a prophylactic partial hysterectomy in 2019, previvor was added to the list. In the midst of juggling survivorship, previvorship, parenting, and a full-time job, I tried to dedicate resources to help Thrivers who were still fighting – the bravest of the brave and most admirable, special women I’ve been lucky enough to know.

After being diagnosed with an extremely rare brain tumor in late 2020, that recurred in 2021, I’m starting to wrap my head around the fact that I am 💯 Thriver. While it’s not metastasis, it is becoming increasingly clear that my brain cancer is not curable. I will most likely face similar plights; in/out of treatment, surgery, trials, drugs, all to try and keep the cancer at bay.

In accepting my current situation, I’ve been connecting and leaning on other Thrivers more than ever before. We try to live in the moment, embrace gratitude, mindfulness, and love; while balancing grief, anger, sadness, resentment and exhaustion.

I’m learning to find joy in the smallest of things; a Starbucks run, playing piano, taking my son to the playground, eating a tasty dessert. Truth is, it’s impossible to stay “in the moment” all or even most of the time. For me at this point, it’s probably about 30% of the time (some days less), but I’m acquiring tools to help grow this, to hone my sense of awareness back sooner. Tools like feeling my breath, visualizing present surroundings, expressing gratitude and eliminating thoughts that are not useful. It’s a daily challenge for all Thrivers, but important to keep working at it!

None of us know what the future holds no matter our current circumstances. It doesn’t serve much purpose to relive trauma. It’s there. It may always be there, but it doesn’t mean we can’t heal and move past it.

The definition of Thriver life is different for each of us. I am in the process of defining mine. I look towards those who have been defining it for years, like http://nalie.ca. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Holding onto hope. Finding meaning in each piece. Defining your own path, your own purpose. Feeling all the feels, but not forgetting there’s still joy, even in the smallest levels. It’s there.

✌🏻-Aly

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