Badassery Magazine Issue 5 October - Page 42

Finding (New) Life as a Cancerpreneur by Rachel Park S hortly before I turned 40, I had a “good job.” After experiencing a series of layoffs, I was working above and beyond in this new position, hoping my dedication would be noticed. But in my heart, I knew I didn’t really LOVE what I was doing. It was demanding, but I made good money. That’s what mattered, right? You can’t not have a job, I thought. I was determined to see it through. After a particularly grueling, long week (including working nights and Sunday), I was burning out. I asked for earned time off that I never allowed myself to take. Anticipating a long overdue break, I was surprised the day before with an unexpected meeting. Suddenly, I was unemployed. AGAIN. What just happened? What did I just work my ass off for? Why had I given so much to something that didn’t mean anything to me? Why was I hoping someone else would validate my worth? Finally, I realized that “job security” was just an illusion. 41 As I faced my unknown future, I already had a beach vacation planned for my upcoming birthday and was determined to enjoy it. There, I looked at the water and contemplated what the hell I was going to do with my life. Before I could get my answer -- and shortly after turning 40 -- I felt a small lump in my breast. Convincing myself it was “just a cyst,” I scheduled my first-ever mammogram and more tests. Over the phone (yes, really), my doctor confirmed my worst fears: I had Stage IIB triple-negative breast cancer. I was devastated. Ironically, on the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I met my new oncologist. Before I could process any of it, I was on the Cancer Train. And once it starts, it starts fast. Suddenly, a new job was the last thing on my mind. My life was now divided into two parts: B.C. (Before Cancer) and A.C. (After Cancer). Now A.C., I could not think past today. Would I even make it to my next birthday?