Keeping It Real is my story about a working mom who received a devastating cancer diagnosis.
It became real when I received a phone call the Friday after Christmas.
“YOU have Breast Cancer.”
At the time, I had no idea how serious that diagnosis was, but I spent a horribly long weekend waiting for a Monday morning appointment with the oncologist. I sat in my living room and cried silent tears and started to pray. I am an educator at heart so the only practical next step was to go to the bookstore to find a book about someone who had survived.
Surely, there was a book telling the story of an average woman fighting this battle and winning. I needed to be encouraged.
But there wasn’t. The only books I found were written about celebrities whose life looked nothing like mine.
I wanted a book written by an average, working mom like me.
I am not a celebrity nor am I privy to employ a chef, maid, driver or nanny. My husband and I needed to understand how this diagnosis was going to impact every area of our lives. We had to navigate the maze of complex medical jargon, multiple appointments, and my constantly exhausted state. It was important to me to continue to work and be present for my family during this season. It was a busy season as we planned a wedding, celebrated my daughter’s senior year of high school, and prepared to be empty nesters.
Life was suddenly out of control but I didn’t want to feel helpless.
I got organized, asked a ton of questions, and developed a system that empowered me to be an informed, active participant in my cancer treatment plan.
Getting organized moved me from fear and despair to HOPE
While the doctors drew up my medical treatment plan, I designed a plan for daily life that centered on what mattered most to me. A few things I chose during that season:
- I worked through my treatment because it was important to me.
- I gave myself permission to be angry and cry when I felt like it.
- I leaned heavily on words that encouraged me.
- I gained an appreciation for eyelashes.
- I allowed friends and family to help.
I refused to stop participating in life.
Five years after my surgery, I created a blog to share my story. I wrote about my thoughts, my hopes, my soul, my highs, my lows and everything in between. Women began reaching out to thank me for sharing my story. It was encouraging them! I began to dream of creating a book that would reach even more women and help them move from fear and despair to hope.
How many women needed to hear the story of an average working mom who…
- Made it through Stage 3a, Grade III Breast Cancer
- Worked through chemotherapy and radiation
- Developed a system to store medical reports and take notes at doctor appointments
- Organized cards and positive notes into memory books to chronicle the journey
- Documented the thoughts of my caregivers
- Continued to participate in life: attended and celebrated High School graduation, planned a wedding (for 300) and prepared for an empty nest by moving our daughter to college.
Now you can have a book about an inspiring story of a working mom with a busy family, challenging job, and unflagging faith.
KEEPING It REAL: Personal Reflections of My Journey Through Breast Cancer shares a message of hope and celebration that will resonate with those diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, cancer survivors, as well as family members. The thoughts and feelings shared by the caretakers provides a priceless view into the very soul of these often overlooked travelers on the cancer journey.
This is more than just a story. It is a tool to help you get through cancer without losing yourself. There is something for everyone: mother, daughter, sister, brother, husband, dad, son, friend, and caregiver.
Inspire. Encourage. Empower.