I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2014. Shocking!
I am 50 years old, extremely fit and healthy. I had raced triathlons as a top age grouper for 11 years, I am an avid trail runner/racer all the way up to 50 milers, and a yoga instructor/practitioner for years. I am the single mom of an 11-year-old daughter, Lily.
I had an axillary lymph node dissection, a mastectomy (all left sided), and chemotherapy. I ran through all of these procedures. I taught all of my classes (I also teach spin one day a week) and showed up for life every single day. My gift is to serve other people, and I do this by teaching yoga and the principles of being a good person and taking care of this gift called our body.
I cut off my long hair and donated it to Locks for Love, then shaved it all off. I never once hid behind a wig or a hat. I’m proud, strong, vulnerable. I came to a deeper appreciation of who I am. I am not my hair. I am not my body.
This journey has also renewed by belief in humanity!!! So many people showed up to make me meals, bring me flowers, cards, gifts, money, and offers to care for my daughter . I am surrounded by so much love and compassion and selfless giving.
Believe me, it’s been a tough journey, fraught with tears, side effects, confusion, anger, and pain. But to me the lessons and the wisdom gained and shared far outweigh all of this.
I’m a survivor and inspiration.
Author: Juli Dabiero Clark
Editor: Travis May
Photos:By Bobbie Turner at 5280 and Elizabeth Hagen Photography. Via the author, used with permission.