cancer survivor quotes, cancer survivors, katy ursta, top beachbody coachAs a survivor I have been blessed with a foggy memory of 2014- the year I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Many of the treatments, struggles, sickness have become a distant memory.

There are snapshot memories that still play in my mind.  Snapshot memories like the tone of my doctor’s voice when he told us, “Stage 4.”  I remember the invasive bone marrow biopsy and the Physician’s Assistant who explained, why biopsy appointments were made so early in the morning….
I remember the kindness of the nurses.  The first time my hair fell out in a clump.  The first time I saw someone post a “sweat” for me.  I remember some tears.  I remember a lot of joy.

I do not, however remember a lot of fear.
But I will get back to that.

August 18, 2014 was my last day of treatment.  August 18th was the day that after 12 rigorous rounds of chemotherapy, I was cured.  That was one year ago.

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Cancer was gone.

But that’s not really the truth.

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What people don’t get sometimes is that any diagnosis of cancer- has an impact that lasts long after the chemo or the radiation or the surgery ends. The scars are deeper than that.

Cancer is always with you.
Part of you.
It creeps back into your mind when you hear of others fighting.
Cancer has a way of coming back into your thoughts and filling you with fear. That’s the truth.

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So what do I do?

I work hard mentally to alleviate the fear- through doing good for others, through the time I spend with my children, through the time I put into helping others through my business, through the books I read, through the gospel I read.

I work physically to alleviate the fear- through the sweat, I still feel like I have control over my body. As long as I am sweating, I am winning.

But there are weeks, weeks like this one, where it feels like it’s everywhere. It’s draining. It’s hard. It’s feels, how do I explain it?

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Like this sorta…
Like an elephant. On your chest. Just sitting there.

And you want to be able to breath, heavy. But you can’t. Instead you can only take short breaths and focus.

on the present…
on providing hope to others…
on giving back what was once the kindness shown to me…
on being a one of a kind mama to my babies…
on living a life worth remembering….

Cancer is part of me.
It’s not gone.
Never will be, really.

That’s why I do what I do.
Because if I can take those sheer moments of hopelessness that others feel, and just be the light
then I know, I am always going to beat cancer.

Stuart Scott said it best.
When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” 
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So a Cancerversary? 
It’s a celebration of life.  
It’s a day to remember that the hardships mold you into the person you are meant to become. 
It’s knowing that you’ve got the certain swagger because life tested you, and you passed. 
It’s that deep breath you take because you know that your life has meaning. 
It’s also an amazing excuse to eat chocolate cake. 
My friend and fellow survivor, Tammi described her first cancerversary 18 years ago as this: 
I remember what I was doing on my first Cancerversary a million years ago…that is the day you celebrate your remission from the Big C. Many of us unfortunately have one, but fortunately can embrace it as a day of hope and peace and gratitude. I was driving home from work at my first teaching job in Columbus Ohio at 4pm…..just another day’s work…just a regular uneventful day at school, and it was a sunny day….my car had slowed down to cross railroad tracks when like a lightning bolt, it hit me what day it was. And I remember looking up at the sun….feeling it on my face and bursting into tears of thanksgiving….because it had been just another….ordinary, normal day. No scans…no bad news…no blood tests….just…..a wonderful ordinary day.”

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To anyone fighting or watching those who are fighting, you know the joy in the ordinary I wish you the feeling of sunshine on your face and comfort in knowing that there is nothing to fear. 
So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.

For those of you who sweat with me, Thank you. Together we raised $289 for the American Cancer Society!  

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 31:6
One Fit Fighter

Katy Ursta


  1. Unknown

    January 3, 2016

    Someone told me about your story. Thank you.

    I was diagnosed stage 4 colon cancer a little over a month ago. I have been told there is no "cure" and no "remission." I have been told that 6 months of chemo plus HIPEC and a radical resection are my only hopes to extend my life.

    I'm not giving up and I'm not giving in because I have 2 little ones who need me. Thank you for putting your story out there. Thank you.

  2. Katy Ursta

    January 20, 2016

    Hey there my friend. Keeping you in my thoughts and my prayers. A cancerversary is a yearly celebration of the day you enter remission. Remission begins on the last day of treatment. You are in remission for 5 years before you are considered cancer free. XOXO