Ever feel like you’re exactly at the right place at the right time? I had one of those moments today.
As I stood in that high school attendance office, growing impatient and thinking about how this errand was taking way longer than it should, in walked a bald lady with a radiant smile on her face. She didn’t know me but yet gave me a big happy hello when our eyes met. I knew immediately the battle that she was facing.
Without even introducing myself, I told her that I knew what she was going through. She asked how I could know that. I shared my story with her – right there, right then. For that brief moment, I forgot why I was at the school in the first place. I forgot that I was running late to my next destination. I forgot that I had to be anywhere else but there at that very moment.
It turned out that this teacher battling breast cancer was in her first year teaching at that school during my senior year there. I invited her to join my breast cancer support group.
This was a great reminder to be mindful and not overlook the opportunities in front of you, even when your mind is already full. Because at the end of the day, helping someone else along their journey was far more important than anything else I had going on at that moment.
There is so much to be thankful for today and every day. But this Thanksgiving holiday, I am especially thankful for my health, for my wonderful family, friends and supporters and for the amazing journey that I have traveled the past 3 years. Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2010, I have been constantly encouraged by the random kindness that I have seen, inspired by the admirable cancer fighters and caregivers that I’ve met and energized by the dedicated, relentless advocates that I’ve worked alongside.
While this disease rudely interrupted my life at age 30, I can honestly now say – three years later – that I am thankful for the journey. You see, it was through breast cancer that I truly learned to live the life that was meant for me. I know some people will never understand what that means and, unfortunately, some people may never experience life at this level. So for that alone, I am grateful.
I am also thankful for what my breast cancer journey has given me:
- A deeper connection to the people that matter most in my life.
- A personal, spiritual relationship with God and an unshakable faith.
- A greater appreciation for my body and my health.
- Meaningful friendships that I would have otherwise never known.
- The power to let go of past hurts and regrets, unhealthy relationships and toxic people.
- The ability to see beauty in small, everyday things.
- An opportunity to re-prioritize my life goals and investments.
- An urgency to follow my dreams and pursue happiness now.
- A voice for underserved, uninsured women facing this disease.
- An invaluable lesson in courage.
During this season of gratitude, I also want to give thanks for the many Team Roxy supporters that continue to accompany me along this journey. Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
I dedicate the final day of my 3-Day journey to Hope — for breast cancer fighters and survivors. I dedicate today’s walk to my survivor sisters who are battling this dreadful disease, day in and day out. Today, I also honor those who we’ve lost due to breast cancer.
I know today will not be easy. In fact, it might take all I’ve got to not give up. But when I feel that I cannot go on any further, you, my friends, will be my inspiration to keep going.
I’ll see you at the finish line!
A recent interview for a feature on Wendy Nielsen’s blog really helped me reflect on how much breast cancer has affected my life. Wendy asked some great questions on how breast cancer has left a mark on my life. Read Team Roxy: Roxanne Martinez to learn how I am writing a new story for life after breast cancer. Also, read all of the inspiring breast cancer survivor stories featured on Wendy’s blog this month.