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Learning to Make Lemons into Lemonade: Professionally, Spiritually, Physically and Mentally

2018-2019 was my year of survival. Checking the boxes of four surgeries and literally trying not to lose my mind. Then came 2020 and a world pandemic. Gathering ceased, the majority of my work hours were spent in the ICU with patients fighting COVID. Plus with the pandemic, my plans to thrive with 20 amazing women through our Project Pink’d Thriving Circles had to be adapted. Instead of gathering together, we met virtually once a month discussing different topics.
One topic that really stood out to me was on choice. At this meeting, we discussed that in life there are certain things we can and cannot control. Our Pink’d President and Founder Cynthia Sturgeon reminded us that we can't control the past and the only thing I can control is me. This hit home for me and I decided it was time to sort through my life and find a new normal. It was time to make Lemons into Lemonade.

Professionally, I had returned to my job as a bedside nurse but I felt like something was missing. I was a float pool nurse where each day I worked on a different unit. I was deployed to the unit with the highest need but having a different group of patients each day I just didn’t feel like I was really connecting. After much contemplation of my career options, I decided it was time to return to oncology nursing. The first nine years of my career I worked with those battling cancer and after a lot of praying, I felt like God was telling me to go back and pay it forward. Maybe my personal experience could help others. I decided I needed a new start so I left the hospital I had worked at for 13 years and joined the Oncology Team at Methodist Hospital. I’ve now been there almost a year and although there are difficult days I’m feeling purpose to my job again. I’ve connected with patients, received some of the sweetest cards, gifts and the encouraging words from my leaders and peers have been AMAZING! Little signs I’m right where I need to be.

Spiritually, amid my surgeries, I knew I needed to let go of my worries and fears and truly put my trust in God. At different chapters in our lives, we all need a little extra support and I knew I needed a little extra Jesus in my life. Knowing the importance of this to me my husband Brett joined me in our church's ALPHA group. ALPHA is a series that explores the Christian faith. Here we were joined in fellowship with others from our parish. I realized everyone is going through something and praying for others, and receiving prayers from others is what makes this crazy world make sense. Through prayer, you can find the good in everything. The glass is always half full. I am so thankful God put this special group on my path to healing.
Physically, I’ve always been an athlete. All through high school, college, and into my adult life I’ve always loved to work out, run, and play volleyball. My year of surgeries side-lined me from all of this. Yet after hours on the treadmill and trails, I finally ran my first post-cancer half marathon. After hours of band workouts and visits to my dear friend and chiropractor Dr. Katie Briley my range of motion improved and I was once again able to play volleyball and serve overhand. These might seem like silly goals to some but to this mom of 3 young girls I’m so happy I’ll be able to play volleyball with my girls in the years to come.

Mentally: If I’m honest this personal development over the last few years has been a roller coaster. But I decided if your life isn’t working then what are you willing to do about it? I had to break my life goals into categories and just take baby steps each day to find my new normal. The big picture can be overwhelming but if you keep pushing through after time you’ll look back and be so proud of how far you’ve come.

Project Pink’d has helped me through my development in all the above areas. This blogging business isn’t exactly my strongest quality as I feel it often turns into rambling but I guess if something I say helps just one survivor who walks this path behind me then it’s worth it. To thank Project Pink’d for all their support I’m volunteering, giving back, and literally making lemons into lemonade at our annual lemonade stand. If you’d like to help support more survivors move past their diagnosis and truly start thriving then watch for updates and come join us for a treat, lemonade, and some good company this coming summer.

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