Pain is relative. Living through hardship teaches us that we can live through hardship. No matter what way you want to say it, accepting what life throws at you with resilience is a skill that is gained over time. You don’t really know that you can do something until you have done it.
I frequently hear from my wonderful support system of friends and family throughout the world that I am brave and strong for handling my diagnosis and treatment the way that I have. I don’t always believe that they are right but I know that I am still doing my best to start and end each day with a positive attitude and the resolve to get through the next thing that is thrown at me.
Here are some of the things in my life that have helped to prepare me for everything that has happened in the last year (and hopefully what is yet to come):
- As a young person I had speech impediment in which I needed years of speech therapy treatment, and sometimes to this day I have problems pronouncing words. I could never read a written speech out loud. Everything has to be improvised or memorized.
- I failed Grade 2. This meant that I was separated from my best friend, Marla who got to advance without me.
- I was bullied a lot in my childhood. When I was in the sixth grade, the girls from eighth grade locked me in a basement. I have no recollection of bad memories, but Marla recently reminded me of this bullying.
- In high school I was told that I was not cut out for university life. My math teacher said I would never amount to anything. Since then, I proven her wrong again and again, as a boss, CEO, entrepreneur, activist and creative and innovative person.
- I moved to China when I was 24 for a job. I was in over my head culture wise. I was determined to beat any obstacles that were put in front of me – both personally and professionally – and even successfully outwitted the Triads.
- I then moved to Romania had to build a team in record time, facing many business and management challenges. When you start to be seen as someone who can get the job done, the jobs just keep getting more and more difficult. Sometimes this can be great. But it means constantly working and adapting to meet your own and other people’s expectations and goals.
- I left Romania for the Czech Republic and built a company from scratch in 90 days before our licence ran out. In the meantime, I became pregnant and had a stroke, all while maintaining my COO status. I became a weekend patient at the local hospital for life lines of fluids and support. I had to fight to maintain my COO status . I was always surrounded by people who were undoubtedly more intelligent than me, but caused me to strive to be the best me I could be.
- I moved to Florida, where I caught a rare fungal infection — blastomycosis. I was put on severe anti-fungal medications and it took two years to beat it without losing any body parts (like other blasto survivors).
- I came back to Canada and started a mobile app that won awards, received media attached and ranked high but ultimately failed to find its audience and turn a profit. I had to learn to fight my demons in that one.
- I spent a full year trying to find Shelly Desrochers on my podcast and trying to uncover what exactly happened to her. We got very close but still don’t have the closer that we were hoping for.
Not all of my resilience comes from the tough times in my life. It also comes from the best experiences that I have had and from the people who have been there and are still here to provide support.
- I have traveled through most of the world.
- I have a great family.
- I have attained enough wealth to keep us comfortable in this troubled time.
- I fell in love with my own personal Prince Charming!
Every experience that I have been through has shaped me into the person that I am – as this cancer is shaping me into a new version of myself. With the changes to my body, I am also refining my priorities in life, finding new things to love and be passionate about, reconnecting with friends and family and assessing my life so far and what is to come.