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  • Writer's pictureMia Rose

Where's the Damn Roadmap?

Imagine setting off an a trip or adventure. You pack, prepare your loved ones for your departure, check out all of the exciting things to do once you reach your destination and typically you decide which route you are going to take. Whether you are traveling with a trusty roadmap (like an actual paper one) or using your GPS, for the most part you rely on what has been navigated for you to get you to your destination. Sure you might pull off on a spontaneous detour to see or do something not originally on your itinerary, but getting back on track is easy. You just follow that map and enjoy the ride. Now imagine you are told that you have to go on a trip that you don't really want to take in the first place. Your trip is going to be an excursion unlike any you have ever taken. You don't know how long the trip will actually take. You must go alone. You will have some people appear from time to time to cheer you on, but ultimately it is just you. Adding to your already existing apprehension, there is no map. You are told that the roads you go down will be winding and definitely not paved. Unexpected obstacles will require you to change your course time and time again. You aren't even really sure of the destination other than to know that in order to get there it will be a long, lonely, scary and exhausting trip. Once you get there, you may not even feel like celebrating. You will, however, be proud of yourself and be grateful that you made it. This my friends, is Cancer.

The weird journey I've been on has changed me. I'm still actually learning just how much. So much about my life and my existence is different than before. Perhaps on the surface to some, I appear just like I did. I can assure you, however, I am not. Time is a luxury I don't feel like I have anymore. While I'm doing everything I can do to live a long and healthy life, that feeling of having all the time in the world to do what I want was stolen from me.I live for me and I live for now. That might sound a little selfish, but it's true. I don't tolerate the things that I used to just put up with. I won't put off that birthday trip or dinner with my parents or field trip with my kids because I don't know if I will be given another chance to do it. What happens if the next turn on this road I'm on leads to even darker territory? I can't waste the level ground I'm standing on now. This sense of urgency to live has caused a wedge between me and some people in my life. I'm tired of making excuses for being different than I once was. The fact of the matter is when you have been on this journey for so long with no map, you have no choice but to do what you can to survive and feel like you're living your life right here, right now in a way that is real and authentic to YOU. Seizing the day isn't just something you talk about, it is something you do. It just is what it is.

As a young breast cancer survivor, my body is different. Parts of it are, ahem, enhanced and I'm quite happy with! Other parts I'm still figuring out. I don't really know what makes it work. Meaning, I know the diet and exercise plan I had before cancer that worked well then, in cancer's aftermath, just does't work anymore. I'm venturing out, discovering what will work now and hopefully what will help me to be the strongest, healthiest version of myself even with the baggage of what the treatments and meds have left me with. Man, I wish there was a roadmap for this! I admit I've been angry that I still am trying to understand how to best lose weight and figure out these damn hot flashes. I find myself trying new avenues like acupuncture, body detoxes and holistic healing. I'm learning about the various types of exercises that burn fat faster and build muscle tone. I'm branching out . Trying new things and definitely jumping out of my comfort zone to find the path that is going to work for me. Not the old me, but this me. I'm anxiously trying to figure out which path to take that will help me find the body confidence and strength that I so miss having. I try to keep reminding myself that the process, the journey is where I will grow. I just have to keep believing that this unsettled path will lead me somewhere. Hopefully somewhere great. I just have to keep going.

What I"m finding out is that while this damn trip with all of it's dark twists and turns is a daily struggle, it has had moments of complete triumph. It can be a bit lonely from time to time, but I am constantly reminded that I've got this. I am more capable and determined than I typically give myself credit for. When I'm not sure which direction to turn, I just do what feels right for me. I just "do me". That response has kept my head in the game and helped me to survive. more times than I can count. Out on this adventure, I'm discovering things that only I can understand. It is, after all, my journey. I can be angry from time to time that I don't have the luxury of knowing the way and the gift of a map might be nice and maybe at times pretty relaxing. This journey, however, this journey I'm on..... it's a trip of a lifetime.-XO- M

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