You never think it could happen to you. You hear of it happening to others around you or even to people you know personally. I never knew how much discovering I was diagnosed with cancer was going to play a critical part in shaping my life.
I was diagnosed on January 26, 2009 at the age of 34. I remember being barely able to hold the phone when I received the news. I was frightened, needing clarifications from the doctor that this was real, and confirmations that I was not going to die. It was soon after that phone call that my journey with cancer became my entire world, and perhaps the beginning of my new world. I was surrounded by doctors, nurses, surgeons, medical literature, and a variety of different appointments. I was overwhelmed and tired with the emotions that were overtaking my every thought and feeling.
In February, I had my lumpectomy. I remember days before my operation feeling scared and relieved simultaneously. I was scared to have a large portion of my breast removed but that reality is that for the rest of my life I would have a deformity. A piece of my womanhood was going to be taken away from me. On the flip side, I was also relieved this tumor is being removed so I can start healing. Following my surgery, I went back to work immediately and drove myself to SunnyBrook while completing 30 rounds of radiation. Fast forward and after 5 years of medication and other forms of treatments, I am presently ten years breast cancer free.
As hard as it is to believe, there is so much good that came out of my experience with cancer. It forced me to look around and enjoy the abundance of the simple gifts around me that I am grateful for. Another positive change cancer brought into my life was adjusting my lifestyle to eating healthy, exercising, laughing, and spending more time with friends and family. Laughter was my best medicine! I was constantly seeking local comedy clubs. For a few hours my mind was creatively occupied. My heart was contented and peaceful. Laughter continues to heal me as well as the support and love of my closest friends.
I focused my attention on using my experience to support and educate others in finding positive ways to fight cancer and hold onto hope. I cooked with celebrity chefs in competitions to raise money for breast cancer and began volunteering for so many wonderful charities. I began to live more in the moment and made annual trips around the world to explore places on my bucket list.
Most importantly, cancer, led me to find my passion in yoga. Not only was I attending yoga classes regularly but decided I wanted take the practice to a whole new level. I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training and immersed myself in so many other yoga courses and workshops. Yoga and meditation became an anchor of how I view life and how I want to live it.
I attended yoga 5 times a week and focused on my daily mediations. This lifestyle change radically decreased my stress level and helped me grow my roots brought joy back into my life. As a result, I felt in control, beginning to take my life back while my body was glowing and changing. I felt alive and rejuvenated.
At the present moment, I am feeling like a tree, with solid roots in of pride, strength, and gratitude, Cancer helped me discover my own roots, it taught me about the life I want to live, how to survive the storm and dance in the wind.
Currently, 107,400 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cancer and 38, 700 will die from cancer. Knowing this reality, I am lucky every day to be alive, to be able to share my stories and experiences with cancer by spreading the word of hope and positivity.
I may have had cancer but cancer never had me . . .
About Sara Mody @thehealthnutsy
Sara is a self-published author, certified yoga teacher, breast/cervical cancer survivor and a lover of health and happiness. She is an active member in her community and passionate about volunteering, teaching yoga, travelling and art. Sara holds a Bachelor Degree in Film Studies from Carleton University, a college diploma in Photography and a teaching degree and is planning on completing Yoga for Cancer as she continues her journey in living and advocating for a healthy lifestyle.