Almost exactly one year ago, on March 14, 2020, as the world was trying to grasp an understanding of COVID-19, I was laying in a hospital bed where I just heard the words that would forever change my life: "YOU HAVE CANCER!” The first words that I could mutter were, “is this a death threat?” to be then told “it can be.”
How can this be?
One week short of my 35th birthday, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. My social calendar quickly spun into medical appointments, one after another, as the size of the tumor required urgency. Before I knew it, I was quickly set up with an oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon and additional diagnostic imaging tests.
Without a doubt, 2020 was the hardest year of my life. But to be honest, I would not change a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather not have had cancer, but I learned more about myself than I could have imagined.
I learned how STRONG I am.
I endured 5 weeks of radiation, 6 months of Oral Chemo, 6 rounds of IV chemo, a major surgery that led to 12 days in the hospital, and a rough recovery.
I strengthened my FAITH.
I learned to live life by taking it day by day, and trusted that God would give me the strength, support and courage I needed to make it through each day.
An image of Marissa finishing her very last treatment!
I learned how to LEAN ON OTHERS.
Cancer is not to be handled by yourself! My parents dropped everything to move their 35 year old daughter in with them to help support me through treatment. They were there for me when I learned radiation would take away my opportunity to bear my own children. They were shoulders to cry on when I had those BAD days that cancer brings. They were my support during a time I could not see others due to COVID, which led to us all being on “lockdown.” The support from my family, friends and church means so much to me, and I can not thank everyone enough.
I also learned to live out FAITH OVER FEAR.
I learned to trust this is MY STORY and to not live in the “What If’s.”
An adopted child is just as much mine.
My port scar and surgical scar down my stomach are my battle wounds.
And an colostomy bag DOES NOT make me less beautiful.
This last year I WAS FIGHTING PRETTY and I WON! I am CANCER FREE!!