From Fighter to Survivor
We were honored to showcase the fight stories of 13 women in our fashion show of cancer survivors at Care Packs and Cocktails. Hear from Jenny Herzberger about her experience as a cancer survivor and one of the 13 beautiful women who modeled during the show:
It is a weird place to be when you are on the “other side” of a cancer journey.
I, personally, was beyond blessed that I had more of a support system then I could have ever asked for. In fact, I had so much of a support system, that when I was called back for a biopsy of the suspicious lump, I knew deep down that it was cancer. I knew God had a hand in the fact that I had a new, amazing boss and team at work, a solid church home with a great relationship with the pastor and his wife, a small group that we had joined a year or so before the diagnosis, and that’s not counting the fact that I already had the best family support and the very best friends who I leaned on so heavily during my treatment. I was set up to go through this journey, and while it was really scary, there was a supernatural peace that my husband and I had because of that.
But, for a cancer survivor, you wind up stuck in this weird place after the bulk of the treatment is over. You are still surrounded by the same amazing people, but they have moved on with their lives. You are “done” with cancer. They aren’t actively cheerleading you on. They love you just as much as they always have. They would drop anything to help you in a heartbeat, but their role in your cancer journey has been completed.
And that makes total sense, but what only cancer survivors know is that things aren’t done. Your journey is not over. It is a DAILY battle to keep those nasty, ugly recurrence thoughts out of your head.
Every single ailment you have – a headache, a weird pain close to the cancer site, a dizzy spell – you immediately go to a recurrence in your head. You play out the scenario of what it will be like to not be able to watch your kids grow up, graduate, get married and have their own kids. You think about how much you want your spouse to remarry, but how desperately hard it is to imagine him with another woman. You go there. Over and over and over and over, you go there.
And really, no one can understand how this daily fight to keep your mind at bay except a survivor. People close to you have a good idea, but they just don’t completely get it.
All of this is what leads me to up to the 2017 Tenaciously Teal Cocktails and Care Packs Fashion Show.
I was extremely honored to be asked to participate in this fundraising event because Tenaciously Teal does such an amazing job for cancer patients as they go through the toughest times in their lives – chemo, losing your hair, feeling like you might never feel normal again. They step in and help make these things easier to bear. It makes all the difference.
This fashion show was meant to raise funds for this outreach; however, I think the fashion show did much more than that.
The connection of survivors is hard in OKC. Support groups are limited, and it is hard to make a connection when you only see these people once a month.
So, on April 28, I got to experience the gathering of so many survivors/thrivers all in one room. Seeing each and every one of these women in their own stage of their journey and realizing how amazing and strong and beautiful they were was pretty impactful. Walking down the runway (even though I was COMPLETELY out of my element) was an amazing feeling.
It was first time since I was diagnosed that I was physically surrounded by so many people who truly understood. As we prepared for the show, I looked at every one of these women and thought to myself how strong and amazing they were. For a brief moment, I got out of the day-to-day worry and was able to reflect just how much I’ve been through in the past four years and how tough I really am on the “other” side of this. I was definitely nervous, but I was proud to walk down the runway and represent our group of survivors.
And for that opportunity, I’m eternally grateful.
For more of Jenny’s journey visit her blog : http://Theherzyjourney.com