Conquering Cancer
January 15, 2021

Just Between Us Girls

Is Cancer a Journey or a Destination?

I’m really good at asking questions and then trying to answer them. You’ll notice that if you read this blog. But this is one question I can’t yet answer. Perhaps cancer is a journey–I don’t really know. Life is a journey and a destination, because in the end, you die. So maybe cancer is both as well. Once you’re a survivor, it has become a journey. But if remission is just outside of your grasp, perhaps, it’s a destination.

In this blog, I’ve chronicled some of my experiences with cancer. It’s not so much a calendar of events, like my timeline.  It’s more an unfolding of the experiences, emotions, and feelings I’ve had during this illness. Sure, there are tips here and there, but that’s not the real purpose of the blog. Its purpose is simply to help as many people as possible–by saying the unsaid; going deeper than most people would ever dare; and showing a vulnerability that I didn’t even know I had. Until now.

I am sharing my story in hopes that it will help you or someone close to you who is being/has been touched by cancer. I focus a lot on post-treatment and what it means for the rest of your life. What’s the process for getting back to your old self? (Spoiler alert: You’ll never be your old self again.)  So then, how do you learn to accept your new self?  

When I was diagnosed in February 2017, I felt like I was at the top of my game–work was going really well; my girls were making their way into the “Adulting” phase of their lives; Greg (my husband) and I were on the same wave-length; and I was spending quality time with my friends. Things weren’t perfect of course, but things were good. But, I was tired–really tired. I was stressed out. I was the thinnest I had been in years. Looking back, I knew something was wrong. Your body tells you when it’s had enough.  Mine certainly did.

So I decided to start this blog, to talk about life after breast cancer. A blog that shares my journey from ignorant bliss, to cancer, to finding strength in weakness, and learning to live my best life.  I don’t have all, or maybe even some, of the answers, but my commitment to you is that I will be honest, authentic, and vulnerable.

2Charliegirrl_o1@3x-100

P.S. Some blog posts are from the time I was in treatment and others focus specifically on post-treatment. The purpose of this blog was to focus on post-treatment, but I also wanted to provide pre-treatment and treatment resources that might be of help no matter where people were in their journey. All of the treatment and pre-treatment blogs begin with the number 1; post treatment posts begin with the number 2. Also, the dates that appear on the main page are changed to force the flow. Each individual blog post shows the actual publication date. My apologies for any confusion. It was important to do it this way in order to show the cohesive story.

P.P.S. Photo credit Heather Philbin Photography; Dress by Akris Punto (relevant later in the blog); Sleeve courtesy of cancer

Comments:

Rita Castline

AUGUST 22, 2018 AT 11:33 AM

You are an absolutely amazing woman and have accepted the diagnosis with such grace and bravery! As a fellow survivor I share your acceptance and agree it is one of the hardest things we have to do. Blessings!

Steven J. Slater

AUGUST 28, 2018 AT 1:17 AM

After reading your blog I loved how you openly shared your agony and triumph. It must be wonderful to be called a survivor.

Kim L. Hunter

AUGUST 30, 2018 AT 2:20 AM

I absolutely love you Charlene. You're authentic as they come. This blog is one everyone -- woman and man -- should read and share...

John Clemons

AUGUST 30, 2018 AT 3:54 AM

As the husband of a breast cancer survivor, your words of advice are spot on. This helpful information also indicates how things have changed since my wife was treated more than 25 years ago. Blessings to you and for you AND your family.

Dennis

SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 AT 1:21 PM

Char,

You will and have inspired many. The journey of healing, as I have learned and continue to learn, is ongoing with the mind, body, and soul. Our ego or identity will trick us into believing that we are our disease. Selflove is a daily discipline and the best medicine to take. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your journey with us. You are love and loved1

I love you!

Big HUG

DGForLife

Jodi Bedynek

DECEMBER 14, 2019 AT 8:20 AM

Charlene, your intro said everything I feel. Some I have said out loud, some i have only felt and never said. Thank you for the invite. And Congratulations. I know that the fight will never be over. But it's what you do with your journey and the time you have left that elevates you to HERO!