Dreaming about my dreams coming trueRead More
Someone asked me the other day about my type of cancer… they have never heard of Triple Negative before… I guess, neither had I until my diagnosis! And stage 4 nonetheless, so I got to know it pretty well!
Anyway, it got me thinking that I should share what I was told about it! And how Zero Negative was formed from that triple negative diagnosis…
Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of the disease. The difference is that all three types or receptors are NOT a factor with triple negative, making it a little harder to treat because there is only one option really, which is chemotherapy.
For example, some breast cancers have receptor cells that respond to hormones. There are three main types of receptors:
Doctors diagnose breast cancer by identifying which receptor is present. They run a series of tests for each of the three receptors, and these will return either positive or negative results.
When a person has breast cancer, but all of these results come back negative, doctors diagnose the person with triple-negative breast cancer. Also, in my case, I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, which means I had increased risk of breast cancer, increasing my risk of triple negative breast cancer.
(I remember when I was given the name, triple negative, I was like, this sounds horrible! Negative, negative, AND some more negative, how much worse can it get?! But it turned out that my type of cancer became a ‘gift’ in a way, because it gave me the name Zero Negative, and the story behind it all… it was such blessing in the end!)
TREATMENT: Many treatments aim to block one or more of the three receptors. When results for all three are negative, hormone-based medications are not an effective option. Instead, a doctor will recommend other treatments, such as chemotherapy.
(I was told that chemo was the ONLY medicine to treat triple negative…and even though it was the only choice, it was known to have a very reliable rate of success in diminishing tumors… )
As with other breast cancers, the success of treatment for triple-negative breast cancer depends on the size of the tumor and how pervasive it is.
(My tumor was really big, 7.4 cm, and it was so confusing and frustrating for me because I had HAD my mammogram 6 months ago, AND a check up with my gynecologist, and NO ONE had felt or seen this huge tumor growing inside of me. Soon after I learned that because I had dense breast tissue, I should have been having ultra-sounds WITH my mammograms…but no one told me this… crazy right? BUT at least I’m okay now, and hopefully I can make others more aware of this now!)
There are fewer treatment options for triple-negative breast cancer, and it is more likely to spread and recur than other types of the disease. More information can be found here:
When I heard all of the characteristics of triple negative, I was scared. Very scared. And to make matters even scarier, my doctor at UCLA who I was meeting for the first time, Dr. Slamon, said that one of the positives about triple negative was if it doesn’t come back in 5 years, then it has a very low chance of ever coming back, but if it DOES come back within that time, then it will be more aggressive and very hard to treat. Basically, he was saying I would most likely die from it, IF it comes back. And, the statistics were very scary… 50% of patients end up cancer free forever, and 50% of the patients won’t, and there is no rhyme or reason of why, but THAT, in a nutshell, is the nature of triple negative.
‘UGH’ and ‘SHIT’, I remember feeling as I was sitting in his office. However, it was really strange and I remember this so well… as I was hearing the stats, basically hearing I had a 50/50 chance to live, I was weirdly starting to feel optimistic for the first time… I felt like I was stepping into my diagnosis, owning it in a way, AND, I was realizing how safe I felt with Dr. Slamon… I think I was finally accepting my prognosis, and then felt like, ‘Okay, if Dr. Slamon thinks he can do this, then I KNOW I can do this, and I WILL do this…I will be part of the 50% group that makes it past 5 years, and I’ll live a cancer free life once I get through all of this. And I’ll have perky boobs for the rest of my life, that’s cool no? And I’ll surrender to the whole experience, like a student, and see what happens… AND, in the meantime, I’m going to figure out how to raise money for his research at UCLA, because god forbid, if this DOES come back (or doesn’t go away), then I better be part of the team looking for a cure!’
And, so it was, in Dr. Slamon’s office, when I decided to turn stage 4 triple negative breast cancer into something positive, which makes me want to advise others of how important it is when picking your team of doctors…you have to believe in them so deeply, you need to be willing to put your life in their hands and trust their advice and treatment, so they can believe in you…it’s a gut thing, but, you know when you know, ya know? What I didn’t know then, was how relevant my type of cancer was in developing my company… and obviously, triple negative gave the idea for the name, Zero Negative, and became symbolic in it’s meaning, going from stage 4 cancer to cancer free (which, by the way, was only 4 months… I must had done something right?!).
(I didn’t know then, BUT I see it so clearly now, that I was planting the seed of ‘surviving’ in my head, in my body, in my being, telling myself what I was going to do, before doing it...hoping others can take this message and use it to their advantage!)
Of course, that day on Tuesday, December 20th 2016, I had no idea HOW I was going to accomplish any of this… BUT, I had a goal, a dream planted in my head, and I truly believe that paved way for my happy ending …to be continued…
#lessonslearned #havinggoalsDOhelp #manifesting
Recently, I started asking myself, WHY did I get cancer? As if the universe was putting me in a ‘cancer class,’ and I had to write my final report about it. Why did I get cancer and not my sister? Have you ever asked yourself, why? Why did you get cancer? Why did someone you love get cancer? Why did someone you know die from cancer? Just, WHY?
Well, I’ve been struggling answering that question for myself. I know cancer is a ‘disease’, but what exactly is disease? If you break it down, it would be dis-ease…something that’s ‘not at ease’ within us, within me, within you. It doesn’t need to be judged, and it might have been brewing since childhood, or even something passed down from my ancestors, but I see it as something that needs to be healed, and it chose ME, it chose YOU, to heal it. WE are the lucky ones!
So, why did I get cancer? Of course, it depends on who you ask. If you ask my doctors, they might say, because I had the BRCA 1 gene, and the odds of me getting cancer were like 60% by the time I turned 60. But I got cancer in my 40’s, so why then? I went through a lot of IVF trying to get pregnant, that could have made it come sooner, but doctors also said that if I DID get pregnant when I was trying, the pregnancy would have killed me, making the cancer spread uncontrollably. Crazy right? Cancer saved my life if I look at it that way…I think all of these reasons are valid, but I also have another theory to add to it all, and whether it’s true or not, it’s the story that resonates most with me, the story I wish to tell, and the story that is my truth.
If you ask me, I would say I got cancer, stage 4 mind you (the universe knows how stubborn I am, and stage 1 or 2 wouldn’t have done much!), to teach me how to love myself, to teach me how to appreciate everything I have in my life, AND, to stop comparing my life to others. To feel GOOD about myself, with all my failures, missed opportunities, AND with all my successes and experiences. I didn’t have children in this life, and I really wanted some. Of course, I can adopt one, but part of me feels too old to do so, and part of me feels like I have too many other things to pursue, too many other dreams to fulfill, and I want to go for them all. Also, my husband is 16 years older than I am, so it seems selfish of me, of us, to take on a child at our age, but that’s it. SO, I put that dream to rest, or should I say, cancer put that dream to rest, and maybe one of the reasons cancer came to me… to let go of having a child. SO be it.
Also, cancer showed me what’s most important in my life. I mean, I knew what was most important in my mind, but NOW, my whole being knows. And, my #1 thing is health, the MOST important thing, because without it, I couldn’t be free. SO, now that I’m 100% healthy and cancer free, I can have a ‘bad day’, or a failed dream, or an empty bank account, and still be okay, really okay, because I have my health. Period.
Cancer also taught me one thing that I kinda knew about myself, but now I REALLY know it… I am a really strong person, and when I set my mind to something, I am a force that can pretty much accomplish whatever I want. And I am very grateful for my strength and tenacity, to be physically blessed with a strong immune system. I mean, my immune system was strong even on chemo! I remember being told, don’t be around crowds, don’t go to events where there’s a lot of people, all that stuff… I remember my family, even my husband, getting colds, some got the flu, and I never got anything! And I was teaching all my yoga clients as I went through chemo, they would get sick, they would have to cancel, but I never got sick…so yes, my immune system is pretty freakin strong!
But other than health, my lessons were mostly about the importance of LOVE, being around love, doing the things I love, being able to receive love from others, appreciating love from friends and family, and not wasting time being around people or activities that don’t bring a sense of peace, or love. Of course, we all need to do errands, or clean toilets, or go to events for others, or see a movie that your friend wants to see and you don’t, or change a diaper when you rather be sipping a margarita… that’s all normal ‘non fun’ stuff…but it’s important to be conscious and aware of how you are spending your time, who you are spending your time with, and what you’re giving your time to, because time goes pretty fast, and doing things that don’t bring us joy seems like a waste of time, no? I mean, I can break it down like this… activities that bring more stress, more fatigue, more depression, more anger, more resentment, they are probably things you don’t love, or things that are unhealthy.… when we’re doing things we love, it can only make us happier, more joyful, and in turn, make us happier and more joyful to be around for others.
Lastly, one HUGE reason, I believe, I got cancer, was to develop Zero Negative, and be able to help the world in the way I’ve always wanted to help the world. I have a message to give, one that I lived through and one that helped me, so I know it can help others. I was used in a way, used by the universe, to help shift the world, our perspective of how we live, of how we treat others…and the universe gifted me cancer to put me on this path. It’s such a big task, one that I had to go through many doors to receive all the lessons, all the guidance, and now that I’ve passed a lot of the necessary tests, now I walk forward with Zero Negative, not knowing exactly how its going to work out, but knowing what I want to say, and it’s purpose.
And one more thing, I guess I can’t talking about how amazing cancer is?! I might sound like a freak, but I am talking truth right now! Cancer taught me that I need to be good to myself. Period, most important thing. We need to love ourselves first and foremost, and then go out and love others. If I don’t love myself, how can I expect someone else to love me? And that’s usually what we go after, someone to love us and give us love because we don’t have it for ourselves. But that puts us in a very ‘ungrounded’’ place, when we NEED that person to love us, when we’re not picky about who love us…that’s when we stay with people who don’t treat us the way we deserve.
Anyway, I could ramble on and on about love, but I’ll end with this…funny, but I think cancer made me human. Brought me back to who I really am, and made me aware of who we really are as humans. Brought me back to what’s important in life (to me), and how to appreciate and be grateful for it. If I were to die tomorrow, I would be happy with everything that I have learned this lifetime…I would be bummed that I didn’t get to live another 50 years, knowing what I know now, but at least I would know I’m okay with how my life turned out. SO, how can I NOT be thankful for cancer?
And ultimately, it doesn’t really matter WHY, but it matters how we choose to deal with it. I dealt with my cancer with Love, Understanding, Appreciation, and Acceptance, believing it was here to help me grow. And I DID grow, a lot. Which makes me feel like I understand how to ‘get through things’ a little better, and that the stories we tell ourselves have a lot of power in them! SO, I’m choosing to view cancer as one of the best things to have happened to me thus far. My story, my perception, and my truth. So be it!
How do you perceive your cancer? Lemme know!
"Sometimes you don't realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness."
Last night I had my first ‘cancer nightmare’. Surprised I never had one until now. It's been over a year since being diagnosed, and not one cancer nightmare? Hmmmmm, I guess I should be grateful. Either way, as scary as it was, I think I learned a big lesson from it.
So, in the dream I was going to the doctor to have a check up. Then, without any explanation, they said I needed to have some more chemo. The chemo was in the form of a pill I was supposed to take. AND, I was supposed to schedule a throat/esophagus surgery the next day, because since my cancer was stage 4, there was a very high chance that is was going to go into my throat and esophagus, so I needed to take them out. The procedure would be long, and I was told that after a lot of physical therapy, I still might slur my words, or lose my voice. Needless to say, I was so upset! Angry in fact! I wanted to talk to my oncologist, where was he? I was so livid that this wasn’t explained to me on day 1. I felt like I was being raped in a way, and I couldn't understand why.
I remember, in the dream, I had all of my hair back, and I was about to take a pill that would take my hair away. That alone was so upsetting. Such a defeat. All this time I spent recovering, only to be wiped away by one pill. I remember yelling at my husband in the dream, ‘there’s no f’’’’’cking way I’m doing a surgery without knowing anything about it'. The doctor, I felt, gave me no answers on why I needed it other than preventative surgery, and he didn’t even know what type of cancer I had. He didn't KNOW me, and he didn't care.
So, in the dream, I decided to do my own research, and I emailed Shannon Doherty (apparently we had run in to each other at some party and discussed cancer and exchanged numbers and emails... funny how intricate dreams can be). So, I emailed her, I remember thinking she had a really cute email font. I asked her if she had to have throat surgery and what it was all about. She emailed back right away, which I thought was cool and strange at the same time. She said YES, she did have the throat surgery. AND, coincidentally, she was sitting with her doctor who operated on her, and would I like to come meet up with them.
WOW, I thought, this must be a blessing?? So, I met up with her and her doctor, he was from NYC, and in Los Angeles 3 months out of the year. He said he could do my surgery. I asked him all my questions. Why do I need to remove my throat it if I only had breast cancer? Is there a chance I lose my voice? Is there a chance I will get throat cancer if I do NOT do the surgery? How long can I wait until I have to get the surgery?
He answered all of my questions, but not in the answers I wanted. Basically, he said because I had stage 4 cancer, it was a very wise surgery to do. He said I could wait up to 9 years to decide to do it. Ugh, I felt. I wanted to wait, but I also wanted to get it over with, because if not, it would just be lingering over my head. I remember seeing Shannon Doherty happy and healthy, and that I would have never known she had throat surgery. She could talk normally, and there were no scars. So, that lessoned my fear, however, I was still really really really really pissed off...and that’s where the dream ended.
I spent all morning trying to analyze this crazy dream. The feeling in the dream was 'OMG, this is scary, this was thrown on me without any warning, my doctors never mentioned it, I never heard about it, and now, this was the life I'm living?' It was very scary. I was so angry in the dream, more so than I ever felt in real life. Or allowed myself to feel. And then, it dawned on me. I've been living this healthy, positive, hopeful, grateful life, that has definitely helped my recovery, and most likely, saved my life. However, where did all of my anger go? Cancer was happening to me, taking my life as I knew it away from me, without any warning or any say. My life was raping me, cancer was raping me, and I had no outlet for rage. I guess it's hard to be angry when you're fighting for your life. There isn't much time for anger.
But it seems, rage is living inside of me, in my subconscious. And maybe now that my journey is almost over, maybe now, the rage feels safe to come out. Maybe the rage will get it’s say through my dreams, and be able to work itself out. I hope so. Even though I still believe most of what I've experienced was the opposite. Most of what I experienced is life is precious, each moment is precious, and life is a gift, and one day, that gift will be taken away.
But you know what? Even with that truth, that really sucks!!! And it makes me feel powerless... and I HATE being out of control! I HATE that this happened to me, and stole a year and a half of my life away. I HATE that I lost my hair and lost my health! I HATE that I was so close to dying. I HATE that I had to have my breasts taken from me. I HATE that my ovaries are next, and I will have to go through early menapause. I HATE all of these things…AND AND AND… AND, I love how strong I became. I LOVE that I was able to get through it with flying colors. I LOVE that I grew closer to my friends and family. I LOVE that I have more appreciation for life than I did a year ago. I LOVE that I am a survivor and can help other victims survive. I LOVE that I started Zero Negative, a company named after my cancer. I LOVE my short hair now. I LOVE that I will have perky new boobs. I LOVE that I will never have to get a menstrual cycle again. I LOVE how supportive and loved I feel from the world. I LOVE knowing that I am strong and can accomplish whatever I want to accomplish. I LOVE that I feel more powerful and connected to the universe than I ever did. I LOVE that I can surrender to life now, knowing every day is a gift. And, I LOVE being cancer free.
So, I guess, with all the good, with all the happiness, there's another side needing to be released and expressed. And, maybe that scares me, to feel that anger, to feel so let down from myself, from the world. But, I'm hoping my dream last night, a little bit of my anger, was lifted off of my heart. And, just like the quote said, if I face my anger, or face all of my feelings, I can become more aware of my strength, knowing I am still whole, and still cancer free. Nothing can take that away from me. Nothing.
I’m not the same person I was a year ago. No one is, I assume, but mentally AND physically my body has been through a major trauma. And as I think about the past year, I have to think about chemo and what it’s done. Before I started chemo, I remember feeling this dark curiosity towards it. I was curious. A strong body like I thought I had - what was chemo going to do? And as someone who was never sick, what was chemo going to do? Was I going to feel sick all of the time? Was I going to have to stop working? Would I have to stop going out? Having fun? Drinking? Eating? What was going to happen? I really wanted to dive right into it. I also wanted to call chemo ‘medicine’ as opposed to ‘poison’. Chemo was hopefully going to save my life, so I better treat it with a little respect, no? I better bow down to it and love it and love the fact that I could receive chemo. Chemo HAD to be the bomb! Also, every time I sat in my chair looking out the window, I was consciously asking the universe, ‘Please let me receive this medicine to kill the bad cells and save the good ones. Please allow this medicine to heal me. Thank you for giving me this medicine. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to get rid of the cancer cells. Thank you.’
And it was a success. Chemo worked so fast on my large 7cm plus tumor, that by the 3rd round of chemo, my doctors had a hard time feeling it! My doctors were so shocked at how fast the tumor was shrinking, that it filled me up with so much gratitude. And it was all gratitude for chemo, for finding the right medicine that would save me, that DID save me.
I’ve learned with every up there is a down, and it definitely wasn’t all fun and games and happiness.There was a lot of pain, a lot of nights where I couldn't sleep because I felt so nauseous, a lot of tears coming from exhaustion, frustration of not feeling like myself, and a lot of doctor visits and blood tests, just to make sure I was surviving the treatment. I remember having to carry a thermometer in my purse because if my temp ever got past 99.9, I had to go to the emergency room. I was not allowed to get my nails done for risk of infection. I wasn’t supposed to be in large crowds because of germs. I basically had no immune system, so you kind of have to live in a bubble. But for the most part, I was lucky. I NEVER got sick even when my husband and family were all catching the flu. I didn’t have to stop working even though I was a lot more tired than normal. I didn't stop my normal exercise routine, and I didn’t even stop having fun once in a while. Today, however, I’m living with a lot of after effects that I’m not always so happy about, and as much as I want to be back to ‘normal’, I’m definitely not…
1. Fatigue: This was the first thing the doctors told me I would experience, without a doubt. And they were right. I remember being on a stationary bike and feeling exhausted after only riding for 5 minutes. I remember taking my dog on walks and not being able to get up the hills I used to do daily. I used to be a gymnast, so all of this was very humbling to me. I never used to nap, and I became a daily napper. But it gave me a chance to actually listen to my body and do what it needed me to do. I needed to rest more, go to bed earlier say NO to fun events, and say YES to sleeping in. I’m a lot better these days. I can walk my hills, I can ride the stationary bike, I can do Pilates class and teach all of my yoga clients… however, I DO need more rest that I did before chemo, and I DO allow myself to nap now and then without feeling guilty :)
2. Nausea: I was fortunately only nauseous for 1 to 5 days after chemo, where it was hard to eat. Also, my taste buds were changing, making things that I used to love not taste so good, making things I didn't like so much taste amazing - it was really weird! The first couple of chemo rounds made wine taste AMAZING… like grape juice, it was quenching my thirst, it was hitting the spot, and it didn't need to be expensive or anything, it just needed to be red. Also salty things tasted amazing; chips, fries, red meat, pretzels, popcorn… it was all I was craving, and probably not the best diet for cancer, but my doctors said whatever I wanted to eat was ok during chemo because you’re just lucky to be able to eat. I wanted cold things too, like ice cream or ice chips, or fruit, grapes, blueberries, apples, those all tasted good to me. I didn't want to eat fish too much, or sugary things were not a turn on. Coffee, which I drank every day, did not taste good to me. I knew I was back to normal when coffee started tasting good to me, and normal was good back then. I didn’t end up losing OR gaining weight which was a possibility. If anything, I lost a lot of muscle because I wasn’t working out, but mostly I felt heavier because chemo makes your capillaries retain fluids so I felt bloated all of the time.
3. Chemo brain: I didn’t get this right away, but now being 6 months after chemo, my memory is definitely NOT like it was before. And stupid things happen like, you’re trying to remember a famous song and you know the guy but you can’t think of his name and it could be Elton John! Or you mix up your friend’s names. Or you can’t remember the fight you had the day before…? These are just some examples of how it appears to lose your mind. It’s subtle, but it’s definitely lasting. I hear that it will go away eventually, but as of now, I am definitely living with chemo brain. At least I have an excuse when I don’t remember something!
4. Mood swings: I don’t have these so much anymore, but during chemo, I was a roller coaster, and the person who suffered the most from my moods swings was my husband. Basically, it’s like being on your period, times 100! I would cry for no reason, I would be mean, I would call for ‘my mommy’, I was a mess… and then sometimes I was so happy, so full of craziness, so full of life… There was no rhyme or reason, it was just another thing I had to surrender to…and my husband and to deal ;)
5. Dead libido: Chemo has shut down my ovaries forever, kind of sad, very sad, I will never get a period again, but kind of cool, I will never get a period again :) But as a young woman who loved sex, sex became such a chore. It also was painful. I was so dry. Ouch, I don't want to think about it… Thank god I had a husband who understood all of these temporary effects, and thank God it was only temporary. You never know whether something is going to be ‘forever’ or not. All you know it that you are experiencing something soooooooo different to what you normally experience, and can you please please please get back to who you were, Well, I will never get back to where I was exactly, but I can say as a pre-menopausal woman, the libido is making its way back to being alive again, slowly, very slowly, but surely…
All in all, I am not the same after chemo, and I heard it takes a good year to 2 years to get back to feeling ‘normal’ again. I’m not sure I will ever feel ‘normal’ again, but then again, I never really felt ‘normal’ to begin with?! All I can say is chemo was not fun. And looking back, I think it was helpful to NOT KNOW what was going to happen. For me, it made it less scary and I was more curious. If I had to do it all again, knowing everything I know now, I would not be happy. I might be more scared, more depressed, because it was really hard and trying on my body and my psyche. I was strong because I didn't know any better. I might not be as strong the second time around, but then again, you are what you need to be, and why am I even worrying about it? I am NOT going to have to go through chemo again… NEVER!
Monday is usually a blah day. I think most everyone can agree with this. The weekend is over and there are 5 days to get through before the next weekend. I’m usually feeling extra tired because I try to have as much fun as I can over the weekends ;) However, this particular Monday was NOT so blah. It was a Monday that showed me how lucky I am today, how lucky I am to be cancer free, how inspired I am to make a difference with Zero Negative, and how fortunate I am to have had such an amazing family and team of friends on my side of the fight.
I received an email from a customer that had ordered a bunch of stuff from the Zero Negative website for his daughter, who was going through breast cancer. Coincidentally, she has the same type of cancer as me, triple negative breast cancer. Anyway, it struck me that by being a cancer survivor, I am now a member of a certain community, or tribe. It's a very supportive community, where everyone treats you with respect, everyone calls you a warrior, and everyone has you in their thoughts and prayers. In the past, that might not have meant much to me, but today, it means a lot. We are all human beings, we are all living on this earth, and at the same time, we are all vulnerable to this cancer thing. And once you’ve been there, you know how hard it is to BE there, and how desperate you want get to the ‘cancer-free’ side.
Now, as a cancer survivor, so many things remind me of when I had cancer and how grateful I am to NOT have it anymore. And with that, I’m inspired, or called on, to help other people going through cancer. Not that I know anything more than I did before cancer, but I DO know what I went through and HOW I went through what I went through. So, when I heard from Mark, the father of Jessica who has triple negative breast cancer, I wanted to help in any way I could. I heard that Jessica’s tumor wasn’t shrinking from the chemo she was on; that she was doing 16 rounds of chemo where I did only 6 rounds. I heard that she’s doing surgery after chemo and removing and reconstructing one breast. I could sense the concern from her dad, who had said the tumor wasn’t shrinking.
I know I can’t really help, but WANT to help! I want to tell Mark what I did, and what worked for me. I want to pray for Jessica because being so far away from someone you don't even know, praying is about the only thing you CAN do. I want to send her a Love Tote from Zero Negative. I want to watch out for her and make sure she’s going to be ok. This is what I feel when someone reaches out to me, and it makes me remember when I was on her side, going through chemo, talking to so many people who were survivors. It helped me to hear their stories, hearing how they felt, what THEY did, and how healthy they are now. It made me feel confident that I could do the same.
Believing in yourself and in your journey is such a big part of beating cancer - I think at least :) So, if I could help someone get to the other side of cancer, that would definitely fulfill me. It really would. It would also make my cancer serve a higher purpose, and as the creator of Zero Negative, I’m always looking to make my cancer mean something positive.
So anyway, this Monday, this ‘not so boring’ Monday, I would like to send a huge prayer out to Jessica and her family. May her tumor start shrinking right away, and may she have a successful surgery to remove all of the lingering cancer as they reconstruct her breast. May Jessica live a healthy and cancer-free life after the surgery and radiation, and may she help others who will be going through what we went through. I wish this for Jessica, and I hope on this Monday night, with my small, humble voice, that the universe hears my prayers and Jessica is on the road to health. I am on her team, even though she probably will never get to know me and I will never get to know her. But that is what cancer does. It connects us. It makes us feel understood. It makes us feel like we are a part of something. And we are. We are a part of humanity, AND we are cancer survivors.