Donum of vita means “the gift of life.” I’ve been given a gift to live. I’ve been given the gift to survive. I’ve been given the gift to appreciate life so early in my journey upon it.
This week a dear friend inspired me, to start something I’ve been putting off for well near two years now. A few days ago my “the world is black and white,” analytical, “let’s get the facts,” rational friend wrote something profoundly moving. She shared how my struggle with cancer affected her to view her own life. She shared how holding my hand at doctor’s appointments gave her the courage to bring balance to her life.
So in honor of this factious friend, I’ll begin this first post with some facts about me:
- At age 18, I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer
- I underwent surgery #1 a week later in August 2004
- I underwent treatment #1 in October of 2004
- I underwent treatment #2 in October of 2005
- I underwent treatment #3 in November of 2008
- I underwent surgery #2 in August of 2009
- I’ve been fighting a war with cancer for the past five years
What’s the intention of this blog and sharing my story with the world? My goal is to inspire one person to change their outlook on life. My goal is to inspire one patient, parent, sibling, child, or friend to have the courage to make it through the tough time, the treatment, the surgeries, the waiting, the test results, the blood work, the poking the prodding, the crying, the ups and downs of being faced with morality. My goal is to inspire just one life to take comfort in knowing they’re not alone. My goal is to open up just one pair of eyes that the life we’ve been given is precious, and you don’t truly understand that until it’s threatened. My goal is to help teach the lessons I learned throughout my battle to help others take advantage of the life we’ve all been given.
I hope to inspire you.
I have had the joy of knowing you your entire life and beyond.
You are one of the indescribable joys & inspiration that have guided me throughout my life. I had the mis-guided knowledge that I was leading and teaching you. It is in the hearts and minds of my children that is the wisdom I have learned from them and just being the blessed the student.
All the fears I carried throughout my life, and all the protections I thought I created for my family were washed away in the moment when you receive the news your child has cancer.
The world stops spinning, you stop spinning, and you are frozen in time. And the feelings that come are nothing you wish on anyone.
And yet we are resilient, are we not? I learned from you the desire to make my way through everyday. I learned from you to continue as if life was normal, and be in this moment. I learned to love those around me even more.
I learned that you are one of the courageous women to fight this battle and win. And by being the funny, loving, sisterly, daughterly gift of my life.
Ali…this is awesome. There is such meaning in sharing your story. I know it’s very personal but believe me…the more you share the more you’ll help others with their journey. Not everyone makes it but every story offers comfort and hope.
Looking forward to reading you.
Thanks for the kind words, Scott. I know you’ve had a very similar journey & I’m excited to be able to connect with others who are in the same boat as us. Congrats again on the 5 years cancer free!
An emotional road ahead, but an exciting one, nonetheless!
You go girl! I love that you are doing this – I know that you will inspire millions because you inspire me every day 🙂
Way to go, Ali! What a great way to share your story. Writing’s helped me a lot, so I wish you the best of luck in sharing your journey with others. Can’t wait to read what you have to say. 🙂
You have been and always will be an inspiration for me and all current and future players I coach. Your time here at Pepperdine was special and I am a better person and coach because of you. You are one of the strongest people I know and when any of our girls feel low I tell them your story and how you were at practice every day even WITH CANCER! So flippin gnarly, yet you would not let it beat you. It puts their problems in perspective.
I love that I get to read your thoughts on this journey, your humor was always amazing, and so is your honesty now. Love you kid!