Survivor Sanctuary Survivor Stories
I am here. I am alive, I am healthy and I am happy. I changed from victim to victor. I became a warrior. I faced what seemed to be insurmountable odds, but I took control of the situation in order to survive.
Many doctors, friends and family helped me through the darkest days, the days immediately following diagnosis. One cancer survivor in particular made me realize it was my responsibility to believe in myself. Her words resonated in my soul. "You will live. You simply must believe in yourself!" These powerful words became my lifeline. I grabbed the rope and began pulling myself up, hand over hand, until I came out of my black hole of doubt and self-pity.
Winston Churchill wrote. A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
My decision was to find the opportunities in cancer, and live those opportunities with passion. I guess I belong to that club; no one ever wants to join. What I know about this club though, is that from the minute you are diagnosed with cancer, your life changes forever. I believe that what counts most in this life is enjoying what time you have, be it 10 days or 100 years. I also believe that being a member of this club requires helping your sisters, your mothers, your friends and many other women who are just starting on their journey and introduction to the club they never wanted to join.
Upon reflection, I realize that a new life for me has emerged.
I summoned the courage to live, turning setbacks into comebacks. I became my own warrior hero.
When I was diagnosed with lymphedema in my right arm, once again I needed to summon my warrior mode. I now have to wear a compression sleeve on my arm every day. They are pretty ugly and I felt ugly wearing one. I knew there had to be an easy way to cover the compression sleeve and that’s why I started a company with my BFF’s Lauren and Jolene, called Warrior Wear Inc. Our first product is Arm Candy, a protective fashion accessory designed for breast cancer survivors who suffer from lymphedema or chronic arm swelling. Arm Candy fashion sleeves from Warrior Wear, Inc. are designed to cover unsightly medical compression sleeves that must be worn daily. We are now selling Arm Candy nationwide and on our website and select boutiques across America. I am almost always stopped by women who are curious about my sleeves. I proudly smile and say it’s Arm Candy for women who have lymphedema. We want to give women like me something that will make them feel like warriors… beautiful, strong and in control.
I now understand that when you are faced with a tragedy in life, you have a choice: to find the hero within, or to give up. By choosing to uncover your own courage, strength and determination, you become a role model for others.