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.
I think people are scared to talk to you when you have cancer, but I am a realist and I will talk about death any day. How I feel, what I want, what I can't do.
Having the fear of death got me unstuck. I think that led to my purpose.