hodgkins lymphoma survivor stories
My New Do!

So this week has been one heck of a roller coaster.  Mother’s Day was spent in the emergency room with Nick- as he needed a few stitches after a run in with the bed frame.  We have am 8 month old teething.  I shaved my head.  And oh I just finished my 6th treatment of ABVD chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. HALF WAY FRIENDS!
This is life, right? Some days, you really wonder if it can get any worse.  Some days you simply breath and give it all to God.  And other days, you truly look at your life, and say, “Wow, I am so blessed. I am alive. I feel good.  My family is healthy.  God has given me so much. I am so grateful.”
Today, is a day that I feel truly blessed.  Yes, I am weak from my chemo treatment yesterday, and my sons did not sleep in this morning, but I am truly overwhelmed with the love and support I have received from so many people over the last few weeks.  Truly, if you are reading this, thank you.

In All of Our Lives We Have Certain Roles- Obligations, Priorities
I certainly never thought that one of my roles would be a survivor, but sometimes we don’t get the choice.  We simply have to “roll” with it.  And as a survivor, I personally feel a certain sense of obligation to share my story.
Why?  I remember when we first received the diagnosis. I remember a lot of darkness.  Long hours.  Sleepless nights.  A lot of numbness.  Questions.  And although surrounded by an army of love, I felt extremely lonely.

There’s really nothing anyone can do or say that can make the diagnosis better, but I do feel that there are a few things that have helped me deal with the role I’ve been given.

So Here’s My Advice as a Half Way There Survivor

1 Learn to Breathe: I know! It’s a necessity right!?!?  But sometimes I’ve found my mind spinning out of control with thoughts of the unknown, thoughts of my future, thoughts that made me feel like a prisoner in my own mind and body.  The only way that I know how to escape the thoughts is to slow down, take a deep breath in, and exhale.  When you truly focus on your breathing, you shut out the world around you.  Your mind is quiet and your thoughts are only on the breaths you take.  Instantly relaxing.  Yoga has truly helped with this.

cancer survivor stories
cancer survivor
Breathe Deep.  Pray Ceaselessly.

2. Pray Ceaselessly: Somebody posted on my timeline a video of a woman who described the power of prayer.  Not in a regimented way, but simply by breathing in, and breathing out the holy spirit. I’ve always struggled with prayer.  Not because I don’t believe.  I certainly do.  But because I thought there was some rule on how to do it, and I couldn’t quite figure out if I was doing it right. Now I look at it as being aware that I AM surrounded by miracles, by children of God.  I simply breath in any stress and breath out peace. Check this out.

cancer survivor

3.  Find Support: When you are first diagnosed, it’s easy to go onto every website, google survivor stories, look for anything and everything that is relate-able.  However, use caution.  Your story, your prognosis, your cancer is completely unique to you. The best thing that I did was find LIKE pages on Facebook specifically for my type of cancer.  I find that the administrators of the page keep it positive and uplifting while still providing helpful tips and recommendations. I was also able to connect with survivors who have been cheering me on every step of the way.  There is something to be said for the friendships between survivors.  They just get it.  They know your struggles.  They know your accomplishments, your pain, your anxiety.  They are a true blessing on this journey.  You can find me here, https://www.facebook.com/onefitfighter

cancer survivor

4.  Find a Voice: There are going to be days when the concerns and questions of well meaning friends become too much.  You will be asked questions that you just don’t feel like getting into- especially on the days you actually feel great. When I get asked the question, “How are you feeling?” My response is always, “I feel great.  How do you feel?” I’ve been so public about this because I want to help others, inspire others, but I also struggle with the one-on-one conversations.  They make me feel extremely vulnerable, weak.  My husband has been my voice when I feel like communicating about my treatments or my progress is too much for me to handle.  I’ve become a pro of sorts at deflecting questions.  Don’t be afraid to deflect! 

hodgkins lymphoma survivor
5.  Don’t EVER stop living: Cancer, or whatever obstacle you are facing, does not define you.  It is not the person you are.  It is simply a temporary role in your life.  It’s a bump in the road.  I’ve made a very conscious effort to carry on with life in spite of the scary road ahead of me.  I workout 6 times a week, I eat clean (I will add that I still love my cake, and will never be able to turn a piece down), I am a coach, a mom, a wife, a friend, sister, daughter.  Cancer is not me.  It’s just temporarily residing in my body. Make modifications, not excuses.

Oh!  And One More Thing!
And just to be 100% clear.  Chemotherapy did not take my hair.  Cancer did not take my hair.  I did.  I simply could not be bothered with the idea that it might fall out.  I just happen to be a control freak like that.  Perhaps it’s a character flaw. But flaws after all mold us into the person we are meant to be.

Perhaps, if you are reading this, you are also living with cancer.  Or maybe you are at a crossroad in your life.  Perhaps life is just handing you a ton of crap, and ya know, you are just sick of shoveling it.  No matter what, I hope this advice helps. XOXO

Follow my journey at www.fb.com/onefitfighter and share it with others!

Katy Ursta


  1. dottie kutscher

    May 16, 2014

    Loooove the hair. And you are such an inspiration. Please keep sharing. What a fighter you are!!!

  2. kayc

    May 16, 2014

    Bravo, Katy! And I love your new do!