Badassery Magazine June 2018 Issue 25 - Page 15

S hortly before I turned 40, I had a “good job.” After expe- riencing a series of layoffs, I was working above and beyond in this new position, hoping my ded- ication would be noticed. But in my heart, I knew I didn’t re- ally LOVE what I was doing. It was demanding, but I made good mon- ey. That’s what mattered, right? You can’t not have a job, I thought. I was determined to see it through. was I hoping someone else would validate my worth? Finally, I real- ized that “job security” was just an illusion. As I faced my unknown future, I already had a beach vacation planned for my upcoming birth- day 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. 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. An- ticipating a long overdue break, I was surprised the day before with an unexpected meeting. Suddenly, I was unemployed. AGAIN. Before I could get my answer -- and shortly after turning 40 -- I felt a small lump in my breast. Con- vincing myself it was “just a cyst,” I scheduled my first-ever mam- mogram and more tests. Over the phone (yes, really), my doctor con- firmed my worst fears: I had Stage IIB triple-negative breast cancer. I was devastated. 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 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? After a long year (and then some) of treatment including 15 rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, 32 radiation treatments, I’m thank- ful to officially be declared can- cer-free! But now what? Getting rid of my cancer had been my “job” for the past year, and now, it was finally over. Everyone expected me to “get back to nor- mal.” What does that even mean? Although I have a degree in fashion design, B.C., I constantly felt I 14