• 13thirty Threads: Life Was Perfect

    Life Was Perfect – Vicki Ties It Together

    13thirty member, Emily (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) reflects on her life before her diagnosis.


    “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
    – Maya Angelou

    Think about that……the moments that take our breath away. Throughout our lives, Ms. Angelou’s words resonate with each of us in vastly different ways. For those of us who have faced the challenge of a cancer diagnosis, her words are a powerful anthem, a testament to who we were, and who we are today.   

    When you sit in a chemo chair for hours on end, your mind tends to wander. As you glance around the treatment room, you can’t help but wonder…. How did I get here?  I would reflect on the days and months before my diagnosis. I recalled the thrill of mountain biking in Colorado, the exhilaration of skiing in Utah. The joy of hiking the Adirondack peaks with my husband and my beautiful Siberian Husky.  The majesty of Lake Tahoe as I said my wedding vows. I was checking off boxes from a bucket list beyond my wildest dreams……life was perfect. 

    Then, the diagnosis. My entire world, as I knew it, ground to a screeching halt. I was challenged beyond the scope of anything I thought possible. Talk about taking your breath away!

    But, in time, you do start to breathe again. As you go through life, you learn a lot about the world. The people you meet and the experiences you have combine to create a beautiful tapestry. I can tell you that you learn a lot more about yourself when you are forced to be still. Your wounds impart wisdom and your story nurtures hope.

    Life was perfect. 

    Correction…..life is perfect. 

    Keep shining brightly my friend. Never dim your light. The best is yet to come! 

    Peace, love, and light.

    Be well,
    Vicki



  • 13thirty Threads: The Diagnosis

    The Diagnosis – Vicki Ties It Together


    13thirty member, Serena (Ewing’s sarcoma) reflects on the moment she found out her diagnosis.


    You have cancer…and, just like that, you are instantly part of a “club” that you would have never signed up for if given the choice. Your life is changed in an instant. 

    I remember the day like it was yesterday. It felt as though I was under water. The surrealness of the moment, washing over me like a thousand waves. How can this be? Why me? 

    Reflecting on the months and years that followed, I realize that there were many instances where I could/would not process my feelings. All of the fear, guilt, and anxiety seemed to have become a part of me. That said, it soon became abundantly clear that though the negative feelings and emotions were valid, they did not define me.

    Am I going to die?
    How is this going to affect my family, my spouse, and my friends?
    Will the next scan show no evidence of disease or progression?

    Sometimes the feelings came slowly, other times they came in rapid succession. There were moments when I felt strong and confident, looking forward to the future. Then, there were the moments that took my breath away. I think we can all agree that sometimes, you just need to cry. You need to sit in that uncomfortable space and simply be. My advice for you is to allow yourself some grace. No self-judgment, only love. 

    As isolating as a cancer diagnosis can make you feel, you need to know that you are not alone. Consider yourself as a captain. Your family, friends, co-workers, physicians, nurses, and the people you meet along the way, are your team. They are there to cheer you on, to help you rally through, and to support you even in the darkest of days. Stay strong and stay optimistic. You, my friend, are a cancer THRIVER!!

    Peace, love, and light. 
    Vicki