inner strength; hodgkins lymphoma survivor

I’ve been putting off this blog post long enough.  In fact I’ve struggled to think about sharing the journey with you because in hindsight, it looks like it’s been a lot of rainbows and butterflies and happy faces.  I can assure you that is not the case.

hodgkin's lymphoma survivorIf you are afraid to hear what it’s really like, I encourage you to quit reading and return to the scroll of your FB news feed to find some cute pictures of adorable babies, ecards, and mindless updates.   

I am pretty optimistic with regard to my diagnosis and my body has responded well to the treatments (at least I think it has) so far.  I wake up each day with a grateful heart and the sounds of my children getting ready to embrace the day ahead.

But the truth is, sometimes, simply getting out of bed is the hardest part of it all.  If you follow me regularly, you know that last week I missed out on what appears to be the most amazing trip- one I earned, free, filled with lots of cool gifts for the hard work I did last year as a coach.  It’s hard to read about, but not because I feel so much like I missed out but more so because it was taken away from me by cancer.  There’s a lot of things, so they say, that cancer cannot take.  But most days, all you see are the things it does.

hodgkin's lymphoma survivor
Best Accountability Partner Ever!

My husband and I retreated to Bedford Springs last weekend and had a wonderful time- the scent of the spa is enough to send anyone into a state of relaxation.  We had amazing food, wine, spa treatments, we hiked, we even napped.  It wasn’t the cruise but it was an escape.  A much needed one.  Unfortunately, when we returned, my facebook page exploded with coaches’ pictures of a dream vacation.  Still relaxed, I went back to work.  It wasn’t until a team call that I had to put it away, and turn on the TV for some mindless television.  Instead, I watched The series finale of How I Met Your Mother.  

Seriously?  If you are a fan,  you understand why I went to bed that night, balling my eyes out and thinking of my own current situation.  When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t get out of bed.  In fact it wasn’t until 2 o’clock in the afternoon that my feet actually hit the floor and I had the strength to stand. 

stage 4 hodgkins lymphoma patient
This is what cancer looks like.

Most days, I truly do forget I am sick.  I feel great, overall. It isn’t until the reminder is in front of me that I begin to unravel.  I’ve been told I’m strong. I’ve been told that I inspire people.  But please know there are serious moments of weakness.  There are times that the darkness creeps in and simply getting out of bed is the biggest accomplishment of the day.  The fear of the unknown begins to trickle into my thoughts:  Will I make it through this?  What will my next scan reveal?  When is my hair coming out?  Is my hair coming out?  How can I still be a health coach if I look sick?  Did I remember to write the thank you?

My friend described this as if I am staring at the sky- waiting for it to fall, waiting for the sucker punch.  It takes all of my strength to look away from the sky and just keep going.  Because if I look at the sky, waiting staring, I miss out on living.  I assure you that with cancer or any difficult situation you may find yourself in, you can keep living or let it consume you.  I choose to live.  Life > Cancer.

People are often surprised to see that I workout the way I do, and I’m not sure why.  Perhaps there is a stereotype surrounding cancer.  I mean those with cancer should be sick.  They certainly shouldn’t be able to do Insanity or P90X3, right?  But here I am still doing it.  Why?  Because for one hour everyday- I am not defined by cancer.  I am getting stronger for the days ahead, and mentally, I escape the unknown and the darkness and I am just Katy again.

hodgkin's lymphoma survivor

Today, I am 25% through my treatment.  A milestone I must say because the lymphnodes are shrinking and the oncologist is optimistic about the scans coming at the end if the month.  Until then, I will keep doing what makes me feel good:  working out, helping others, and sharing my story.  Please, share this with anyone you find inspiring.

Life > Cancer

Katy Ursta