Another Year, Another Angela – Life 3 Years After Cancer

We had another year around the sun! How lucky are we? 🌞 This year I have a slate of new goals, ideas and passions I want to continue working on. One of those goals is being more active on the blog! I noticed ever since I entered remission I have been hesitant to write about myself and my new experience as a cancer survivor. I thought it would be vain to write about how amazing my life is and how healthy I am because a huge following of the army are cancer patients.

But as I look back in time, back to 2019 when I was a 22 year old women being diagnosed with cancer, I think a blog from a 26 year old women cancer survivor would have brought me great peace and comfort. And that is why I want to shine light on how much my physical, mental and emotional well being has drastically changed within 3 years – to provide peace and a light at the end of the tunnel to others enduring something similar.

Here is a chart I made about 4 zones I was feeling and lacking in 2020:

I felt lonely from my diagnosis, lack of hair on my head, gained weight from medication, not working out like I did as a college athlete, wasting time on negative people and overall, not taking care of myself. I got my first “real” job in 2020, working remotely at a financial institution as an agent. I was on the phone the entire shift, glued to my computer and desk with no connection to the world. I felt isolated and sad. I was wasting money on random shopping trips, alcohol and unhealthy foods. Hanging out with social crowds that drained my energy, acting like someone I was not, trying to build a new identity after what I went through. It was a true period of self hate. But like always, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Once I got uncomfortable with being uncomfortable every day – I made a change. I quit my remote job, and started applying to positions in the education space where I knew I would thrive. I started working out more and eating healthier. I took a step back from thinking drinking and going out every night and weekend was the best and only thing to do. I started reading, spending time with new and old friends, changing my food preferences, working hard and networking every day at work to get to the next step of growth.

One small decision to quit my job and find a new one set me up for personal success. I started working a new job as a Teacher Assistant, coaching sports, working with students and amazing professionals. This role lead to another role in fundraising and event planning at a boarding school back home in New England where I had the autonomy to make it my own. I was coaching ice hockey and coordinated student facing roles. I grew so much during this period of my life in so many ways – I became comfortable challenging myself every day and learning that change and shaking things up is important. I listened, empathized and never said no to a new task.

After building my confidence and taking a new approach on my life, I made another change. I had always wanted a position in admissions, to help and guide students make a decision that will forever impact their lives. I applied for an admissions position at a small liberal arts school, (where my boyfriend had gone to and was now a part of their football coaching staff) in Holland, Michigan. I drove out to Holland after getting the job offer, and was introduced to a new world. The mission of my job started to play out into my daily life, being surrounded by intentional and kind people who care for their community and the greater good.

I believe when you are surrounded by positive people who care about others and themselves, your life will only elevate in all aspects. With this realization, I am learning how to practice daily rituals, health and nutrition to fuel my body, daily movement and working out, reading and writing, and working on small attainable goals every day! At the beginning of the year, I chose that my word of the year will be: discipline.

Of course our new years goals can drift away throughout the year as life continues on, so that is why I want to make sure I am consistent in my daily goals and rituals.

I have sincerely felt a sense of peace this past year from taking charge of my life, finding new hobbies and taking care of myself emotionally, mentally, and physically. Whether it is doing my DIY projects decorating my apartment, thrift shopping, reading novels, running and lifting weights, exploring new recipes, making new relations and friendships, being intentional, meditating, relaxing, and everything else in between – I am happy.

To contextualize my thoughts and goals for this year, I downloaded an amazing free app Eden, where you can schedule and plan your daily goals and habits. You can choose if you want to be notified and what time you want to do them.

I also created a chart to remind myself of the goals I have if I start feeling unmotivated:

By any means, I am not perfect – nobody is. But once, I realized what kind of person I want to be and who I want to surround myself with, life became clearer. After feeling alone and confused after my cancer journey and being in my early twenties, I never thought I would end up feeling happy, peaceful and comfortable.

I encourage you to think of your word of the year and set attainable and small goals you can achieve both daily and long term. If you are fighting a battle of any kind, I hope you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and change is good. I believe putting positive energy and vibes into the world, will come back to you. I know as humans we go through dark times and can feel like there is no end to it – but there is! There always is – try to remember that. Every day you have thousands of choices to make. Try to make the choice for YOU.

With that being said, I believe the year of 2023 will be an amazing one with new stories and chapters for us to discover. Don’t be scared to adventure off of your daily rituals and habits throughout the year. Remember new challenges and choosing yourself is the key to personal growth. Choose you, find a vacation time in every day, and don’t let anyone steal your joy.

With all my love,
Angela πŸ’—

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