life after cancer, life in remission, cancer survivor stories, young moms with cancerThis morning Mike and I got into the car, dropped the kiddos off at school, and made the very familiar route over to UPMC Passavant Cancer Center.

It’s weird to think that two years ago, almost to the date, my life changed forever.  I said goodbye to the carefree days of “forever young”  and entered into fight mode.

I had cancer.

I had hodgkin’s lymphoma.

I had stage 4 cancer.

I was no longer Katy.  I was Katy with cancer. 

life after cancer, life in remission, cancer survivor stories, young moms with cancerYa know what’s exceptionally strange?  I hear often from people that you know you’ve healed when you can tell your story without crying.

To be honest, I can tell most of it.
I can talk about diagnosis without tears.

I can talk about treatments without tears.

I can talk about the illness without tears.

I can talk about my nurses, the oncologist, the sickness, the hospital, the chair, the hundreds of well wishes and kindness I saw throughout treatment.  No tears.

I can talk about a lot of cancer without the tears.

But there seems to be one thing I cannot talk about…

life after cancer, life in remission, cancer survivor stories, young moms with cancerThere’s one thing NO ONE warned me about….

There’s  one things I CAN’T heal from…

The waves.
No one told me about the waves. 

So if you know someone entering remission, this might be worth the share.  I will try my best to explain it, but words don’t seem to work for this. So bare with me.

The waves are a very raw emotion.

Imagine you are driving in a car.
You are focusing on the road ahead.
And all the sudden, you feel this lump in your throat…
You grip the wheel tighter.  Something isn’t right.

You take a look in the rear view to make sure your kids are alright.  Check your mirrors.  Take another glance at the cars around you.  And you say a little prayer.
Everything appears fine.
But you know that you have to grip the steering wheel harder and keep looking ahead.
Before you know it that lump in your throat has become tears in your eyes.

At first they seem to be tears of joy.  I am here. I am driving the car. 
And then the tears turn to fear and then rage. And you have to grip the wheel so hard that my arms start shaking.  You have to pull over.


I guess that’s the part I am still dealing with.
Not so much the fear.
But the rage.
Because some days, at any point, I have to pull over and just scream.
And that loss of control, and that feeling of I can’t drive fast enough and there is no exit from it, overtakes me.

Ya know,
I think survivors or those impacted by cancer might get this…
Maybe you’re reading this with no understanding of what I am saying.  Gosh it’s been two years, shouldn’t Katy be over it?

Guys, I don’t think I want to heal from the waves. I’m not ready to.
You see, the waves remind me of all the things that I have to be grateful for.  They remind me that this life is worth fighting for.  They remind me that I am not done fighting.

Because I believe my purpose is to continue to fight for those who cannot.
Even if it means I will always have the waves.

And I am ok now with admitting this. I don’t think I am ready to heal. My story, the waves, and the rage still make me cry.

life after cancer, life in remission, cancer survivor stories, young moms with cancer


For more on my cancer journey, click here.

*Cancer Survivors, I have found Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection to be an amazing source of comfort for dealing with these emotions.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Katy Ursta