November 21, 2017

Jumping Into Life

By Tami Boehmer

Not always jumping for joy but jumping nonetheless.

Not always jumping for joy but jumping nonetheless.

I do a little crazy thing when I’m jumping on my mini trampoline. I jump 40 times to signify that I’m going to be around forty years from now. I’m superstitious that way. I’ve upped it to 100 because I know the exercise is good for me. And who knows, I could live to 100.

Why do I do this? Five years ago to this day — which so happens to be World Cancer Day — my life changed forever. I thought I was done with cancer. Just two months earlier, I celebrated five years of being done with treatment from stage II breast cancer. Then I walked into my breast surgeon’s office and learned the large lump in my armpit was indeed a recurrence and not hormonal fluctuations my surgeon once thought. It was stage IV breast cancer.

I won’t go into detail about the horrible time that followed. It’s what happened after the shock, depression and flurry of medical activity – that’s what I want to talk about on this blog. My view on cancer has evolved since I wrote the book, From Incurable to Incredible, a collection of stories of people who beat the odds of terminal cancer. Four years ago when I started writing it, I was all about beating this disease, a feat so many people in my book achieved. It’s a wonderful, lofty goal. In these five years, I have enjoyed up to a year of remission, but it inevitably returned.

But that hasn’t stopped me from trying. Every three months when scans came along, I would squint my eyes shut and with all my might visualize the cancer being completely gone. Then when that didn’t happen, I would feel defeated. My diet was excellent; I’ve been exercising, swallowing cups of supplements, praying, helping others … why isn’t this going away? In the past year or two, I have come to more of a place of peace with the C word; a cease-fire if you may. If those rampant cells will just stay where they are and not cause any trouble, I can live with them.

It turns out; I can live with them even if they are causing trouble. My latest scans show some progression … enough to warrant a change in treatment. I’m now taking Afinitor with the aromatase inhibitor Aromasin. My life hasn’t changed dramatically and I even have a few exciting trips planned. As my local oncologist, Dr. Randy Drosick says, “You look great; you feel great – focus on that.” I don’t have to base my life on the result of a scan.

I’m a pacifist, and I don’t want to be at war with my body anymore. I keep doing everything in my power to stay healthy and still pray for No Evidence of Disease, but I won’t discount the wonderful, exciting and love-filled life I’ve had these past years. I am blessed that I have been able to live the way I have, and no spot on a PET scan can erase that.

As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” When I was single, I was angry and depressed that I wasn’t married by the age of 25. Then 30 rolled around. I remember sitting by the ocean looking at a beautiful sunset and thinking, “This would be so much better if I had someone in my life sitting by me.” God had other plans; and I married at the ripe old age of 33 to my soul mate, who has stood by my side and supported me every step of my journey. I met Mike when I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend; I was looking for a job. I had let go, and God intervened and brought me this gift when I least expected it. And I found a job, too! Today we have a beautiful 14-year-old daughter who means the world to me.

I’m not going to spend my life saying, “This would be great if I didn’t have cancer.” My life is great. Period. Cancer does not define me. And who knows, God might just have a few surprises when I least expect it. In the meantime, I’ll continue jumping on my trampoline for good measure.

Tami Boehmer is a blogger, speaker and author of From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. To learn more, visit her site at www.miraclesurvivors.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of TPF, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisors or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advise of any kind. Any questions about your health or treatment plan should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for TPF without compensation.

Comments

  1. Wonderful & inspiring. I am a 6 yr survivor & I have a dear friend in the midst of a battle with stage IV. Where do I get your book?

  2. It is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. It can also be purchased through my site, http://www.miraclesurvivors.com. Thanks Nancy!

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