Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? Any advice for other women, particularly young women who are just starting their journey?
It definitely has not been a smooth road, it actually has been quite the opposite. I felt as if I died and came back to life! I do also believe that struggles in life cause us to grow and expand the most as well!
Post surgery, I went through the worst rashes multiple times and countless sleepless nights due to the pains. So much inflammation that I didn’t even know was possible. Within a few months we went back to the ER 5 times, I even went to one in Colorado the day of my Colorado bridal shower (yes, I got married during this journey)! Ashkan and I froze our embryos, to be safe before radiation and chemo started. Once radiation started, I lost half my hair due to the radiation, and get this – the day of my San Diego bridal shower. Oh man what a day! I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemies (if I have any haha):
To paint a picture of this traumatic experience, my hair had recently started to fall out due to radiation. On this day of my bridal shower I made the mistake of putting Aloe Vera on my scalp to cool it down (due to the radiation having slightly burnt my scalp). I asked my mom to help me, not thinking what hell we were about to enter. Once I get out the shower, I have a HUGE knot of hair on the right side of my head. I initially thought it was due to the Aloe Vera. If only there was a video of this day: my mom and I in the bathroom with 2 combs and 2 wet brushes. I was completely balling, then screaming, then yelling at my mom, then apologizing to her for the yelling and back to balling ALL while I was brushing and combing, switching out what’s in my hand while my mom would clean out the massive amount of hair that had fallen out from each brush or comb. This went on for I would say 3 hours, while taking breaks to breath and get ready for my bridal shower that my beautiful family and friends had thrown me and were waiting patiently for me to arrive. My poor mom, I could FEEL her heart breaking. She kept saying, just cut it! And I would refuse. One thing I learned from that experience is how dang determined I am! Once I completely got the knot out, you could easily see more than half my scalp. The hair that had knotted was mostly dead hair hanging on to the few strands of hair that remained attached. Although couple hours (or more) late, bridal shower was pure love, fun, and joy!
The final 3 weeks of radiation gave me enough time to CHOOSE to shave my head rather than a “I have to do it”. This was an empowered choice rather than feeling like I have no choice in the matter, so I finished 2017 off with my dear friend Kat shaving my hair LIVE on Facebook!
If that isn’t struggle enough, I began higher doses of chemotherapy January 2018. Come to find out, too high of doses as I’d be nauseous and out of commission for much longer than anticipated. As healthy as I am and even with amount of supplements I have and all that I do, chemotherapy will always kill what’s good in our body along with the bad. This has destroyed both the good and bad bacteria in my digestive organs and for whatever reason there’s been too much acid production, causing me so much pain that I get scared to eat at times right after chemo. And to top that, I’ve had hormonal imbalances since June of 2018 til present day, yet every day I keep on pushing forward to be the best version of me, accepting that everyday will not be ideal. I know I will have tears to shed, frustrations and triggers to have, and I also know life is a roller coaster. If there were no downs, we’d never appreciate the ups and we’d take them for granted.
Honestly, I didn’t even remember half these struggles. After reading the initial draft to my family, they reminded me of them. The thing is I don’t focus on the negative, I focus on the positive in life! What you focus on grows. That’s who I always was inside, and now I’ve become Free To Be Me! I am that person who looks a struggle in the eye and takes it on as a challenge and says “WATCH ME!” BTW these are just the extremes of it all, not the daily issues that seem quite minor when compared to that described!
That said, my advice would be to never give up on your dreams! Dreams may change due to experience and time, and that’s fine, CHANGE THEM if you’re inspired to do so, but don’t change them because you feel like it’s too hard, or scary, or whatever it may be. Just know struggles in life are what create the most growth and expansions in life!
Life is like a marathon: the last mile or two before reaching that final goal are usually the toughest; pushing through the toughest parts means you’re super close to achieving your dreams!