Why did this happen? What can I do to keep this from coming back? The fear of recurrence is very real. It sort of invades your whole life down to every time I eat a piece of chocolate. Should I be eating this? I feel guilty about this. A glass of wine. Is this bad? Red meat?
Having breast cancer, stage three triple negative, makes you fearless. I really am fearless. I'll go out in that bay and paddle board anywhere by myself at six o'clock in the morning.
I used to run away from the darkness. I used to run away from the fear, and the only thing I was doing at that point was letting it grow bigger and bigger and bigger. And what I've learned is sometimes I just need to sit with it and just talk myself through it.
But I remember at that point, I thought, 'I don't want to give fear all this power.' And that was when you could just feel the shift coming. And I just remember that after that, it was interesting. When I would feel that darkness coming, I'd say, 'Okay, but fear, you're not taking my power away.
I feel like triple-negative breast cancer and metastatic cancer is different from other breast cancers because the path is just unknown. I have to tell people, "I don't know if it's going to ever come to an end." So I really have to accept that it's part of my life. It's not something I can brush under the rug and put behind me.
The act of writing in general is nice because you put it down and you no longer have a fear.
It's actually the psychological impact afterward when you stop treatment, when you're not going in for regular check-ins, when you have this cloud of anxiety about what you're eating or drinking, or this pain and whether that pain means something else.
Having the fear of death got me unstuck. I think that led to my purpose.