Recently, I sat down with Julianne Mosher from Huntington Now, a site that provides coverage of the news, people and events in Huntington, N.Y., to discuss how a thyroid cancer diagnosis at the age of 26 led to me starting this lifestyle and wellness site, my role as a cancer advocate, and how my story landed in the cancer survivor book, “TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer” by Marquina Illiev-Piselli.
I was honored when Julianne reached out and said she wanted to feature my story for an article she was planning to write about the book. As a native Long Islander, and Huntington local, I love sharing my story with the community.
We met at my local Starbucks just days before I was heading over to Europe for my two-week vacation. But even with a jam-packed work day and a very tight schedule, I couldn’t wait to share all about my journey and my chapter in “Tough” with Julianne.
Julianne and I follow each other on Instagram, so I was able to easily spot her amongst a sea of people grabbing their afternoon coffee at Starbucks. We found a quiet spot in the corner and Julianne began recording me telling her how my diagnosis was discovered. The almost hour-long interview went by so fast, as I discussed how the gynecologist performed a neck check during an annual exam and detected a nodule, why I started this blog and how it went from a cathartic hobby to a bustling side-hustle (which ultimately landed me in an entirely new career), and about writing my chapter for “Tough,” which revealed never-before-told details about my journey with thyroid cancer.
When the opportunity to share my story in ‘Tough’ first materialized, I was beyond excited. It represented a way to have my story reach a larger audience, and therefore help more people, and it also served as a personal challenge for me to craft my story in a new way. I had written about my diagnosis so much in the past, that I wondered what else I could say that wouldn’t make it sound like a compilation of my blog posts?
After many phone calls with Marquina, transcripts of our conversations, and an initial draft of the chapter in hand, I knew what I needed to do—re-write it. That process led to me remembering many details that I had previously neglected in past posts and also helped me to re-frame the narrative around my story.
One story I told in “Tough” was about a woman I had met during my days as an equestrian. She volunteered for a cause that she was passionate about and I wondered how one gets involved with a cause. One day, I asked her that very question and her answer surprised me. She said, “you don’t choose the cause, it chooses you.” For some reason, I remembered this conversation when I was writing my chapter and it struck me—becoming an advocate chose me. I was meant to share my story and have it inspire others. I was meant to work with people who were going through a difficult time in their lives. And I was meant to have my cancer diagnosis change my career direction.
With more than 100 reviews on Amazon, I am so proud of the praise that ‘Tough’ has received. It’s such a great feeling to know that I was part of something that will benefit cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones, and that through this book I have made 36 new survivor friends. I am also extremely humbled that Julianne and Huntington Now covered my story and featured this book.
To read the full article by Julianne in Huntington Now entitled, “Huntington Cancer Survivor Shares Story in New Book,” visit: https://huntingtonnow.com/cancer/
Photo by Julianne Mosher for Huntington Now