Life Story

Life Story

In an earlier post, Morning Routines, I said that I grew in a family that was lower middle class. My first experience with finance was of struggle and not success. This sentence, since I wrote it, has sat with me to where I can’t shake it. It keeps coming back through my mind when it is quiet. Feels like it is asking me to explore this deeper. So here I go.

As an adult, I believe that so many of the day to day things we do are all out of habit. Habits that we formed as children, habits that we formed in different seasons of our lives, habits that we took on from our parents because we model what we saw as a child. Maybe habits we learned from those we see as mentors or coaches. If Joe wakes up in the morning and shoots hoops for an hour and he is a successful basketball player, then I need to do the same to be successful. Most of us have a morning habit that looks something like mine. We get up, go to the bathroom, shuffle to the kitchen and make our coffee. We could and often times do this in our sleep. Habits are the foundation of the way we live our life. Some habits are formed out of survival and some out of day to day living. For most of us though the habits we form are because of our life story. Our life story or how we were raised, until we set out on our own, influences the way we live our life today.

I was raised in an environment where I saw my mother stress about money. How was she going to pay the bills and put food on the table. We did not take family vacations. That was not possible at times and sometimes if it was possible was viewed as a waste of money. Why spend it when you can tuck it away for when you need it. I remember my dad telling me with almost every paycheck I got as a teenager to, “not spend it all in one place.” He would follow it up with “it’s ok to have something left over in your bank account.” Even as a grown adult he asks me if I have money in my savings. All of this is done out of love and care to be sure all of his children are ok living on their own. My parents felt they were teaching us to be responsible with our money and our jobs. They felt this was creating work ethic and good humans. They were right in some ways and did the best they knew how to do based on their own life stories. What it created in me was someone fearful to spend money. Someone fearful to take a chance and risk a bit to see a possible return on investment. Someone who gives everything to her job so she does not lose it.

What if my life story around finances was different? What if I was raised in an environment where money was out of success and not struggle? What would I have learned differently? Can I flip the switch on my upbringing, rewire my thoughts and learn it now?

Life by Default

Life by Default

Day 2 listening to podcasts, while having my coffee, is a success. I’m working on creating a habit where I replace reading work emails in bed or as soon as I wake up, with doing something to better myself. This goes back to yesterdays post about the law of first things and doing something in the morning to start your day that will guide the rest of your day. Today I listened to The Improvement Project podcast. I listened to an older episode, What is intentional living? I am trying out new podcasts everyday and I had listened to The Improvement Project last year while traveling. I like that they are short podcasts that make me think. This morning is no different and launched me into this blog post of living by default versus design.

Do you live your life by default or design?

This question is easy for me to answer because in my life, I have done both. I know what both look like for me and I feel that is the key to understanding your truth. In my life when I lived by design, I was most successful and that design catapulted me into one of the best times in my life, career wise. In an earlier post I talk in detail about starting at Sallie Mae as a young woman and making a goal on day one to one day be a vice president. Everything I did in that job, every opportunity taken was weighed against my goal. If it supported by goal, I took the opportunity and if it did not, I did not do it. This meant I moved my young family to Texas to train their contact center and eventually ran a division. It meant I moved my family back to MA when asked to run a division in need of help. It meant I moved to CT versus working from home in NC to run a different center. It meant I got my VP at 40 and that got me in the door at Nike. My dream job. All of that was done by design. It was not all rainbows and unicorns. It was hard work but I had a goal and a vision that I kept in the forefront of my life and I attained it.

I have also lived a lot of my life by default. It looks very different from the above. In fact, outside of the above most of my life has been by default. Often times the worst kind of default, Survival mode. The time when you do what you do everyday because if you don’t, bad things happen. This was the case as a young mother when I realized I was going to have to be the responsible one in the marriage. This realization only fed into my financial worries and helped create the workaholic, perfectionist, Type A, amazing woman, that I am today. If my then husband was going to quit jobs when he felt like it, I had to carry the load to be sure there was always a roof over our heads, food and health insurance. I took the job at the call center and worked until I got noticed. I literally fell into the life I live today. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I like what I do and I make a really great living. I often refer to it as my “golden handcuffs.” That alone says so much. I am the sole support of my family now, divorced and financially secure. Do I love what I do? Is it my passion? No. Is it draining? Yes. Is it what I would do if I designed my life? No.

One thing to note is that my ex is not a bad man at all. He has some mental health issues that was undiagnosed in most of our marriage. It contributed to his behavior mentioned above. It is my truth though in my marriage, had an impact on the way I live my life and I speak it.

I have also been fortunate in my life to think I was going to die. 151,600 people die everyday in the world but we seldom give our mortality a thought. Sadly a large number of people in the world die without truly living or doing what they dream of doing. I had ovarian and endometrial cancer and dying was a real possibility. I also have a heredity syndrome that makes me cancer prone so at times, when I let it creep in, I still think I will die before most. I say fortunate because I am now 5 years cancer free and can see what really matters. I am beginning to see what I want to design into my life. So many people don’t get the chance to understand how precious life is and what matters most when you think it is over. I did and now at the point where I can’t neglect what I learned.

So what does designing a life look like? In simple terms it is living an intentional life. Being proactive in your life versus letting life happen to you. Its the difference between you running your day and letting your day run you. Do you have dreams? Can you articulate them and turn them into goals? Have you sat down and asked yourself what YOU want your life to look like in 10 years, 20 years? Forget the obstacles for the moment. What does it look like? Are there things you can say no to right now? Things that drain you or that you do out of obligation. Start by saying no and start reclaiming your time in small ways. How many hours does your screen report say you spend scrolling each week? Can you repurpose that time for some work on your goals and dreams? It is not easy. Designing a life is hard work and intentional thought and action. Its worth it though when you can step back in years and say, “hey I did it!”

I’ll keep you posted on my design. It’s in the works. For now I am working on creating my morning routine and running miles a day. I am working on my work boundaries in this work from home environment. Small victories. Let me know your thoughts on this post or what you’re doing to live by design. I’m interested.

Morning Routines

Morning Routines

I read recently in Inc., the way you start your day determines how your day will go. It is a quick and interesting read about how Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, Howard Schultz and Jeff Bezos start their day. None of them begin their day working or reviewing their email like we might think. They make time for other things and go from there. The article goes into the law of first things which basically says whatever you do first thing in the morning influences your productivity for the rest of the day. What do you think about the law of first things? Does it resonate with you?

I grew up in a lower middle class family that struggled financially. Although I always had what I needed, I vividly remember getting food baskets delivered and Santa coming on a fire truck one Christmas. My Dad was sick when I was growing up and spent a bit of time on disability while we tried to figure out a mystery illness. My Mom was a magician when it came to our finances and somehow we made it through. I say all of this because my first financial memories are built off of struggle, not success. I learned quickly that to make money, you need to work harder than everyone else and sacrifice for the company to get noticed. Once you have money, you can’t play with it or lose it. I then ended up a single mom that struggled for a while so that money story in my life was only further cemented. I save like my life depends on it because I am my only source of income so I cant mess that up. My credit is amazing and I am financially secure but taking time off is stressful for me because what if I fall behind or I am not on my A game all the time. All of this to say that before I am out of bed in the morning, I am reading and responding to email on my phone. Some mornings, I am more aggravated before my feet hit the floor than I am at the end of my day. I am a workaholic.

I realize that the habits I learned as a kid growing up and as a single mother were habits I put in place to survive. These are my survival mode habits and I am still using them today even though I am in a different season of my life. I am financially secure with a great credit rating but I am still living like the absence of a paycheck would put me on the street. I realize for many that is a horrible reality but I have made it through that season of my life, thankfully. Living in survival mode keeps me from living. I really want to buy a summer home but afraid to take out another mortgage even though I know I can rent it out when I am not there. I want to begin my consulting business but starting a business that could potentially fail, terrifies me. I might not have the steady source of income I have right now or how will I retire? This is my thought process that keeps me where I am even though I am an industry leader in contact centers and passionate about how they are run and how agents are treated behind their doors. What I need to begin to ask myself is what if I am successful? What if all of this inactivity is just preventing me from reaching my true potential? What if doing what I love will bring me more financial security than I can imagine? I need to flip the switch, unlearn from my past and begin to create habits outside of survival mode.

This morning I flipped the switch on my routine a little. I replied to one email and then put the phone away. Small victories! I listened to a podcast for women entrepreneurs. I did this while I put my makeup on and got ready for work. I have yet to check email and it is almost 8:30. Even this blog post has helped me see things more clearly. I think I will keep acting like Bill Gates for a bit and see how it goes. How about you?

Healthy Me

I’ve heard it said many times, to become someone you want to become, you have to act like you’re already it. “Dress for the job you want versus the job you have,” is a perfect example. The one thing I have always aspired to be was healthy and fit. I have always wanted to be the strong, older women with defined arms and abs who took her health and fitness seriously. To not be the middle aged woman with the little pooch belly. There is nothing wrong with being the middle aged woman with the little pooch. In fact, I am her, right now. However, I have always wanted to be the fit mom. The healthy mom.

I’ve always been athletic. I’ve always been curvy and a little thicker than other woman and I am ok with that too. I love my strength. Its carried me through some really tough stuff. I want to be my best self though. My version of my best self. To make it happen, I need to show up as her now to fully become her. Just like I dress for the job I want versus the one I have now. I just turned 48 in June. If not now, when.

To help me become my best self and make my vision a reality, I am going to repurpose this blog. I am going to write about ways I am working on me. My fitness, my food choices, my mental health, my spiritual side and my financial goals. I will talk about what I’m learning along the way. I’ve also been running consistently for four months now so expect some running posts too.

Please comment and give me some feedback. I would love to have some buddies along the way. Thanks in advance.

2019 My Year in Review

Why is it that we remember the tough stuff far longer than we remember the good stuff? One year, 12 months, 365 days,  8760 hours of living my life. Some of it fantastic and some of it crap. Lots of it messy. All of it, mine.

At first when I thought of 2019 I thought of all the tough stuff. I had my knee operated on and Im still recovering. My dog Duke had to be put down.  I had a precancerous result from my yearly colonoscopy. Work was harder than ever and I worked more hours this year than other years combined. I was careless with a friend and lost him. I tweeted on Friday that I could not wait until 2019 was over.

Today while scrolling Instagram I saw my friends posting their top pictures of the year. It looked like fun so I began to scroll through my 2019 pictures. I’m so glad I did. What I found was that 2019 was not just the tough stuff. There was a ton of good stuff in it too.

  • I kicked boxed in Manila
  • Spent a night in Alaska in winter
  • Ate ramen in Japan
  • Found out I would be a grandmother
  • Took myself to Paris for a long weekend
  • Had an authentic stroopwafel in Amsterdam
  • Stood on The Great Wall in China
  • Days by a pool and ate at Hell’s Kitchen in Vegas
  • Had my cards read in Dublin and so many Dublin trips
  • Kayaked with friends for a week in Maine
  • Rode in a Swiss Army tank touring breweries in Bend
  • Enjoyed good coffee in Seattle and lots of work in San Francisco
  • Became a grandmother to the cutest baby girl

I learned a valuable lesson today. Don’t judge a year by a few tough weeks.

Photos to come once I figure out how to add them

 

Motherhood

I read a quote recently that punched me the gut because it described what I have been feeling since my oldest daughter moved back home with me six months ago. The quote is, ” A Mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” This quote has sat at the back of my brain since I read it the first time. This is what I feel at the core of my being. Sadness, grief and some anger mixed in there as well. There is so much to unpack. None of this she owns or is on her. None of this is “her fault.” She has never asked me to carry it. These are my feelings.

She is struggling. Deeply struggling. Her sadness is overwhelming.

I don’t handle this well. I am a fixer and want to figure out a way to make it better. I would stand on my head if that helped. Instead I react with ways to fix stuff which is not what she needs or wants and we fight. This all comes from a place of love and worry but it’s not what she feels. Last night, Christmas, it came to a head and I told her she needed help. She yelled and cried and when I finally went to my room, I did too

I don’t know why I can’t just let her be sad. It’s been days of sobbing and I worry but why are my suggestions the right way to go? Who am I to tell her how to manage her grief? I thought about this all day today. My Christmas Eve and my Christmas Day were so horrible. Why does her grief affect me so deeply. She is a grown woman, why can’t I just go about my day, my life, in spite of her struggle.

After hours thinking today I realized why.

I was the baby in my family. When I was old enough to really know my dad he was ill. He had extreme OCD and suffered from depression. My dad was not the dad that coached hockey or baseball like he did for my brother. My dad was sick. My mom filled his place. She coached every team I played. I would see my Dad cry when I went out, thinking I would get hurt. I saw him cry and pleaded with my mom to take him home, when we dropped him off for a long term hospital stay. Many days I walked in the house and wondered if he would be alive. Then I got married and my husband suffered from bipolar depression. The cycle repeats. Days locked in his room, job after job, tears so often I became numb to them. Times walking in my house I wondered if he would be alive. Driving around our subdivision to coax him into the car so I could admit him for his own protection. This is why I can’t just let her be sad. I am so afraid to let her be sad because for everyone I’ve known, sadness could have been deadly.  I automatically put her sobbing for days in the same category. I want to make her better because I can’t bear to repeat the cycle again.

She woke up and went to work today. She has sobbed all night. We leave for Denver tomorrow and I forced her to pack her bag because I can’t do it at 6am and I can’t leave her here alone for five days. I should have just left her be and if she could not do it by the time I left tomorrow then she would be left home. That’s what I should of done. It’s not what I did. I don’t even know if I could get on a plane tomorrow knowing she would be here, not working, sobbing for five days.

I have to figure out a way to stop being this mom. She is grown. This is her life to figure out. These issues are not skinned knees. They are deep wounds. They far outweigh my mother’s “make it right” degree. I need to live my life and maybe by seeing a happy mom, she will one day be happy too. Maybe she never will and that will be entirely up to her.

Old Habits Die Hard

Every year about this time I begin to make a list of what I want to accomplish in the new year. Some people make resolutions, I make plans. I focus on what I want to do versus things I want to stop doing. This has been my quiet tradition since 2015. Most of the time I write it on a plane in January. Not really sure why but I write a lot on planes. Something about sitting in one spot for hours causes me to look inward and express outward into the notepad on my iPhone. Sometimes I look back and can see the mood or spot in my life I was in during this trip or that one. At one point in my life I was commuting two hours one way to work. I started doing voice memos on my way home to catalog what was going on in my life. I stopped these the same year because when I went back and listened to them they sounded weirdly tragic. I never wanted someone to listen to them and think I was unhappy in my life. I might have been unhappy in those moments but they were just moments in the grand scheme of my life.

It is weird that I started this tradition in 2015 because that’s also the year I was diagnosed with cancer. I must have been very hopeful in January and certain if I made a list, I would accomplish the stuff on it. I never did. The monkey wrench of cancer came hurdling into my life and threw it off course. My 2015 list would have to wait. Funny enough, that list has been carried over year to year since. Small changes sometimes but always the same themes.

  • Take more time for me
  • Run a half marathon
  • Lose weight, be strong, be healthy
  • Take an actual vacation
  • Fall in love

In 2016, I added and changed a few things but the main themes remained the same. Getting my divorce was 15 years in the making. My marriage ended in 2007 but due to private circumstances I never filed. We lived in different parts of the country and for all purposes were divorced, just not legally. I am not sure why I even made a list this year because I was undergoing chemo. I think I was trying to remain life as usual despite being sick. It is my way. Just plow through and get to the other side. Regardless, this list went undone.

  • Get my divorce
  • Buy a house
  • Year of my best body/health
  • Take a tropical vcation
  • Settle down with the love of my life

Sitting on my couch New Year’s Eve, I drafted my 2017 list. Tired from cancer and moving to the other side of the country, I was feeling really exhausted in 2017. I changed my list from things to do to mantra type sayings. I was desperately trying to will myself into action.

  • I will have my healthiest year yet
  • I will buy a house and grow roots
  • I will run races
  • I will find a man to spend the rest of my life with
  • I will get my divorce

These mantras carried over into 2018. My list in 2018 was made by someone in a crappy place in her life. I was angry. Angry at cancer induced menopause and weight gain. Angry at being alone. Tired from working so much. My list reflects the space I was in at that time. I was in such a place that I did not even write the list until the end of February. After writing the list I wrote a note that basically said not sure why I am doing this because I never seem to get it done.

  • I will buy a house
  • I will lose weight
  • I will run a 10k
  • I will get my divorce
  • I will find a man to spend my life with

Something happened in 2018. I crossed two things off my list. I got my divorce and I bought a house. Two of the most liberating things I have ever done in my life. I bought the house I had always wanted, on my own. I was scared. It was crazy expensive but I did it. I got my divorce. Deciding to buy a house pushed me to file. My husband was safe and mentally fit to handle it now and I could not buy it being married. It was quick and simple and a weight lifted from my shoulders.

Deciding to share something so deeply personal was hard. A piece of me that was only mine, Ive given out today. I did it because in the end it is not about what is on my list but the fact that I made the list at all. Even in some really dark moments, I looked forward to the next year. I realize more and more that we are told we should be happy and that life should be good. Maybe its not about that at all. Maybe it is about looking forward to what comes next in the middle of the mess.

Heres to 2019! To all the list makers, keep listing. To the resolution makers, keep making them. To those who quietly propose to do better, keep doing. I will have my 2019 list done soon. It will be the best one yet.

Reverse Engineer

Its been a while since my last post. A crazy year since last summer with lots of changes.  I will be honest and openly admit that I am struggling right now, physically and emotionally. Physically because since my hysteroctomy, cancer and chemo finding my way back to my right weight has been a challenge. Added to that a lack of estrogen from surgical menopause and you get where I am right now. Stuck, blue and unmotivated.

I underestimated the role estrogen plays in my life and I feel my doctors did too. When women go through menopause it is usually later in life and most can add hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to their daily routine. It does not solve all their problem but it helps reduce them to some degree. When you are in your 40’s and have a hormone sensitive cancer like I did, endometrial and ovarian cancer, you cannot take HRT. You can’t even have a large amount of soy in processed form because it can cause your body to have a hormone response. Without estrogen I am moody, I cry more than ever in my life, I get angry at odd things which I work really hard to hold deep inside. I have a lot of fatigue, a large amount of apathy and my motivation, joy and zest is just gone. This is so unlike me. I love to run yet I can run 3.2 one day and not get myself out the door for several days later. I force myself to keep getting my work done but it is a, fake it till you make it phenomenon right now. This is scary for me because I have always been the sole financial and insurance support in the family and that cant stop at 46.  Plus I just bought myself a home. All on my own. It is amazing and I am so proud I did it but it is another thing to add to my cant stop now reason list. I am not complaining. I am trying to just get it all out and in doing so I realize that my doctors never talked to me about this at all. Not once. No one told me I would forget things easily and should keep a list. I would not sleep through the night again. I would feel blue and not myself. Why was this not discussed. Did they think the side effects would make me say, “No thanks, Ill keep the cancer”? Regardless, I am here now and I am struggling to find my way out. I also stopped trying to date because right now I am traveling too much and just a hot mess. Who wants any part of that combo. Onward.

I was reading an article the other day that talked about reverse engineering your life. How it helps you figure out your goals and allows you to work backward to get where you want to be. This resonated with me because I did it successfully three years ago. I am going to try it again now and see if it can help me get to where I need and want to be.

At 21, I walked into a small, local company and started answering their phones. I was a young mom, newly married and they let me switch between daytime work and night time shifts depending on the school year. I was answering their phones but it was time away from two small children that I needed and I loved the social aspect of taking calls and helping people go to college. I knew in my second year there that I would build a career in the company. I also told myself that one day I woud be a VP in that company. Everything I did and every opportunity I took, I asked myself if it would bring me closer to that goal. If the answer was yes, I did it. If the answer was no or I dont know, I passed. In 2015, while battling cancer and publicly going through chemo, I was given my VP. I remember being proud and realizing I did what I set out to do some 22 years prior. I reversed engineered my life. My next 5 year vision was my 20 year plan and I did it. Since then I have moved, challenged myself and worked for some really big companies running their centers. I dont want to stop now. How do I do the next 20 years with this weight tied around my shoulders.

So I will be using this blog to reverse engineer my next 20 years. I am going to try and write daily for a while and help me process what I am going through. I am hoping this will help motivate me, hold me accountable and if not, cause me to fake it til I make it a little more. Thanks for bearing with me while I talk about my feelings, my workouts, my running, my food and what I want my next twenty years of my life to be like. I need this now more than ever.

Always with love ~T~

 

Who Cancels on New Year’s Eve

I believe in love. I think it’s possible that in this busy, over scheduled and over connected world, two people can meet and fall in love. I don’t believe it happens fast but I believe it happens. This is my Achilles heel. The soft spot that my armor fails to protect and it gets me every time.

This time was not love but I thought the path was promising. I was caught up in his sweetness. He had a way to make you feel like you were his singular focus. He answered his phone and we would talk and share for hours. I learned about his life and he learned about mine. He was not only sweet but smart. That is a deadly combination for me. I love good conversation and talking about things from the environment to politics and he could cover every one. I let my guard down and I let him sneak right into my camp when my armor was tucked away. I did not even realize he was an enemy. I thought we enlisted together and were in the trenches trying to win the same war. I was wrong…again

I don’t really understand what happened but I knew on Saturday that things were different. I also knew he would cancel our NYE plans. I was right.

So this was my end to 2017. I am better for it. I added another plate to my armor and covered up that newly exposed wound.  I won’t be so quick to believe the next sweet, smart man that says hi. It’s not that I don’t believe in love. I am just tired of getting it wrong.

On to 2018. Lesson learned. Stronger. Better. Smarter. Believer

GYN Cancer Awareness

September is GYN cancer awareness month. It is an entire month dedicated to bringing awareness of GYN cancers to every woman. In an effort to do my part I am sharing my story. It is my hope that maybe some woman somewhere will read it, thinks it sounds familiar and sees her OB. 

It is estimated that in 2015 there were 98,000 GYN cancers in the US. 30,000 women died from these cancers. I was diagnosed in 2015 with two GYN cancers. I had endometrial and ovarian cancer and I was 43 years old.

2015 was an incredibly busy time in my life. I was commuting almost four hours a day for work. I was launching new contact centers overseas along with being a mother, sister and friend. Life was crazy busy. I was eating horribly, drinking my share of wine, barely sleeping and my stress level was through the roof. I had finally reached my biggest career goal and I was determined to not slow down. I paid very little attention to what my body was telling me. For over a year and a half I was experiencing intermittent bleeding. It was between my periods and never heavy. More annoying than anything. At first I thought I miscalculated my period but the times were off. I then began to coorelate my few glasses of wine at night to the bleeding. I told myslef that maybe I had too much and this was maybe a stomach ulcer. After a few more months I told myself that it was the start of the “change.” After all I was in my 40’s and I knew my family had early onset menopause. So I blew off the bleeding and kept blowing it off. I also blew off the fact that I would sit down to eat and be so hungry but a few bites into my food I was full. No longer interested in the food in front of me. This was an easy blow off because this felt very anxiety releated to me. I had experienced this issue earlier in my life when my sister, Michelle passed away. My anxiety was so high then that I physically could not eat. All anxiety related and I eventually worked through it. So in my mind I was again stressed and this was just anxiety. I had no idea that these two things were neon signs against a dark night sky telling me something was very wrong.

In March of 2015 I went for my annual exam at my new OB’s office. All was fine. At the end of the visit she asked me if I had any questions or concerns. I told her I was struggling to lose weight and that I had some abnormal bleeding. My OB, without pausing, told me that I needed a uterine biopsy. She was very blunt and said that abnormal bleeding is a cause for concern and can be endometrial cancer. I remember scheduling the appointment and going to my car. I maybe, stopped for a minute to let the thought of cancer run through my mind. One minute and then I drove away. 

My phone rang a few weeks after my biopsy as I drove to work. I had a two hour commute and I talked to everyone during those rides. I answered the phone almost automatically without realizing it was my doctors office. Plus it was seven in the morning and I knew the office was not open. When I answered, the girl on the phone told me she was my doctors assitant and could I come to the office today. I laughed and told her I was almost in CT but I would schedule a follow up. I told her I was heading to El Salvador and I would come in after I got back. She was very nice but her answer shocked me. She told me no.  She went on to tell me I had to go to the office the next day. Gave me a time to be there and directions to a different office where my doctor would be. I asked if I could go in when she was in the office I knew and again she said no. I hung up and called my sister. We both agreed this would not be good news.

My sister came with me and we walked into the office. My young doctor walked in and did not breath or pause. She thanked me for coming in and told me I had cancer.Whatever she said next I dont remember. I walked out to the car, my sister stopped to have a cigarette and I swore. I climbed into her car and as we drove to tell my parents I told her that I did not have time for this. She lauged and said I would have to find it.

Post a quick hysteroctomy I hopped online to read the surgical notes. I cried when I read that not only did I have endometrial cancer but I also had ovarian cancer. I knew from what I read that I would need chemo. I also knew that ovarian cancer kills and even if it does not kill, recurs in other parts of the body. 6 rounds of chemo, lots of surgeries and procedures later I am NED (no evidence of disease). I will have to have tests every three months for the next five years. All of that is fine because I am alive.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am one in 700 women who have ovarian cancer but I am living. My only regret is not paying attention to the warning signs my body was showing me. Irregular bleeding, bloating, feeling full after starting to eat and weight changes. If you are reading this and it sounds like you, please schedule an appointment with your OB and get a biopsy.

Heres to the next five years!