My Story…

I have thrived through three separate cancers; colon, breast and pancreatic. This website is the result of a personal commitment I made to God.  “If I get through this, I will share my story.”  It is my hope that the guidance you get here will help as you go about researching for yourself (or a loved one) who has been given the news that they have cancer.

 

I have always been a fighter…

Three times I have managed to “kick” the beast and send it on its way.  My blog provides information and inspiration to assist you in strong-arming the opposition.  Note: Your opponent can wear different masks.  At times, it may seem to be your family, your friends or even yourself.  It is important to not be your own worst enemy. I share more detail on my personal cancer journey at

 

 

 

 

 

But, let’s take the gloves off for a minute…

Like everyone who gets cancer, I had a life before this and I still do! In order for you to feel you want me in your corner, I think it would be helpful to understand the heart of me outside of the cancer experience. This is a very significant part of me.  It’s the part that will put the symbolism of the boxing gloves in perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beginning…

I am the oldest of seven children and grew up extremely poor.  That’s me in the glasses at age 12 holding the baby (my youngest sister). Three of us have survived cancer. Another two died of other causes. Our parents are gone.  Dad died of lung cancer. Although mom had breast cancer at age 58 she survived it. But she succumbed to MRSA contracted in a nursing home at age 82.    

We grew up in this 900sq. ft. house that became more and more crammed as each new sibling arrived.  My maiden name is Fishe (fish) and I have always said we were packed in like sardines! As a little girl I constantly told myself,“I’m not going to live like this. I want more for MY children.” As a result of this mantra, I got married, had two sons, put myself through college, got my MBA and ended up with a job at IBM.        

 

 

 

 

At IBM, I maneuvered my way through the business politics and eventually ended up becoming the CFO of a major segment.  I made a strong six figure income and was considered the success story in my family.  But I traveled constantly and put in 70-hour work weeks as I climbed the corporate ladder.  No matter how high on the rungs I rose, I still reported to a boss.  I always wanted to have my own business, but I didn’t know how to walk away from the income that was supporting my two sons and the great lifestyle that came with it.

 

 

My connection with God kicks in…

When I was at the height of my IBM journey, exhausted and trying to figure a way out of the rat race I listened to my gut and on a whim, became an Independent Rep of Excel Communications.  Excel was a company that provided direct long-distance service to customers cutting out the middleman. I needed something different in my life and I could do this without immediately walking away from my IBM Executive position.  This decision was the springboard that led to my 20-year entrepreneurial career and it changed my life forever. There is a lot of detail behind my subsequent personal business career but the net of it is that I have traveled the world speaking on stage in front of thousands, telling my “story” and helping others learn how to tell theirs’. How was I able to take this on? It’s because I “knew” it would change my life and I knew I was willing to do the work to make it happen.

 

 

Here’s how I knew…  

I have journaled all my life.  My writing is always a personal letter to God.  As I pen my thoughts it’s more of a conversation that appears one sided but I know who I am addressing. These pages of the past are a gift to me; given to myself over the years.  When I look back I can see where I was and how my desperate pleas were answered. The answers were not always what I was looking for, but I now know everything unfolded perfectly. The evidence is right there in my face as I read back and realize. Trust me, I have had plenty of practice dancing through the upside and downside of life; like losing everything to real estate investments right before the great recession. But my daily letters give me the strength to keep pulling the gloves back on.     

 

 

Likewise, since I also journal about my dreams, I have been able to witness the fruit of my focus.  As an example, the childhood mantra of “not living like my parents” manifested itself into a dream of having a home on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. This is one of many unlikely dreams come true.  However, it did not happen only because I wished it. I also put in the work. How it all unfolded is an amazing story, but I tell this part here to let you know that when things seem most impossible your focus and your action can be a dynamic duo.  

 

I am now very healthy and in tune with myself…

My most recent bout with pancreatic cancer was certainly the “kicker.”  At times, it seemed like the last straw. But through it I have learned more than I ever thought possible.   This journey inspired me to convey what I have discovered about prevailing against all odds. Not being one to dwell, with my previous cancers I simply set my mind on healing and moving on.  But with this last episode, through my journaling and through prayer I came to realize I am a storyteller and I have been given an enormous opportunity to share a very big story with you.  Being a private person this was a huge decision for me. My hope is that as I reveal the details of my experience, you will be inspired to do whatever it takes to overcome your cancer.

 

 

 

Reinventing the survivor…

I shy away from the term “survivor.”  People refer to me as a survivor, but I like to say I have “thrived” through three cancers.  To me survival is tolerating something that happens and continues to happen.  When I think of surviving cancer I realize I also survived 25 years in a corporate job.   I survived raising my two sons who are now parents to my three beautiful granddaughters. And I have survived 20 years as an entrepreneur.  Living life is surviving it. But I like to focus on the joy of living. Surviving is just a by-product. If you are reading this, you are a survivor of some sort! I think it is also important as cancer patients that we reinvent ourselves and let that suffering person step aside, so that a new self, a happier self, is born.  Finding meaning and purpose from a crappy experience is much more uplifting than reliving the trauma. Thriving is finding something to gain from the experience, paying it forward and having no regrets. 

 

 

 

So, let’s get kickin! You with me?