By Kelly Bradley, Guest Blogger July 15, 2015
Life is unpredictable. I imagine we have all experienced the abruptness of life’s challenges a time, or two, being thrown curveballs when we least expect it. Whether we have experienced those curveballs personally or become witness to a friend or family member dealing with their own struggles, we can all relate in knowing what it is like to have your world turned upside down. That is something we, as humans, have in common.
We are a community of beautifully unique people, but we are all on this roller coaster called life. We are each blessed with the “ups” and know how difficult it can be to deal with the “downs.”
On May 20, 2015, my dear friend Emily* was diagnosed with breast cancer at 26 years young. When I say she is beautiful (inside and out), carefree, ambitious, adventurous, there is not even an ounce of embellishment. It is hard to put into words the sadness I felt when I heard of her diagnosis.
Her world has completely changed in a matter of weeks. One day she is living her life, the everyday normalcy she has always known, and the next she is beginning the fight of her life. On June 8, 2015, less than 3 weeks after her diagnosis, Emily underwent a bilateral mastectomy.
image via knowyourhealth.com
Following her recovery from surgery, she will soon begin 20 weeks of chemotherapy, then almost 7 weeks of radiation therapy. After chemotherapy and radiation therapy, she will go through a 10 year course of hormone therapy.
Emily is facing each day with a one-day-at-a-time mentality, but in spite of her diagnosis and the daunting reality of what’s to come in the next year (or 10 years to be exact) she is incredibly optimistic.
It would be easy and understandable for her to crumble with fear and defeat, but instead I see the Emily I have always known shine through. The next 10 years of Emily’s life could be defined by cancer, but she refuses to give it that much power. It is unbelievable to see how quickly her life has changed.
The amazing thing though, through all of this, is to see a strong woman become even stronger. She has already proven to be a heroic fighter and her family and friends are gathering in her corner to show her unwavering support.
Watching a friend, especially one so young and full of life, face a life-threatening diagnosis really puts things in perspective. Some of the “struggles” I have been dealing with now seem unimportant. Getting stressed about things that are out of my control seems unnecessary.
The amazing thing though, through all of this, is to see a strong woman become even stronger.
Feeling like I never have enough time to do all those “someday” kind of things seems like a bad excuse. I am reminded of how precious our time is here on this earth. The reality of everyday responsibility will never go away, but I can become more conscious of the moments I am in. I can remember to enjoy the little things more, to be adventurous, to be silly and have fun. Perhaps most importantly, I have to remember to go after my dreams.
Today is the day to make things happen, as tomorrow is never promised.
Since joining the I AM THAT GIRL community, I realize how lucky I am to be connected to such a strong, positive group of women. We are here to learn from each other, lift each other up, share experiences, and offer support when there are bumps in the road.
As you read this, I ask you to think of my friend, Emily. Send her thoughts of positivity and be empowered by her strength. Life can change in an instant, but the “downs” in life do not have to define you. I hope you read Emily’s story and remember toappreciate what is important in your life. Be inspired to make the most of every day.
*Name changed to respect privacy
Don’t let the hardships in life define you. Know your own strength and believe you can overcome anything. In what ways you stay positive when times are hard? Tell us below!
Kelly is a Midwestern girl, a daughter, sister, and friend. She earned her Bachelor’s degree (and currently works) in Fashion Merchandising, but has always had a passion for writing. Kelly also loves photography, music, and (of course) fashion. Kelly hopes to inspire young girls and women to discover and embrace what makes them truly extraordinary. Tweet her @KelBee6
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