Not many knew she was 33. She lived the life with the intensity of a healthy 23-year-old. She never thought about death. She enjoyed traveling alone, hiking, skydiving, paragliding and rollercoasters. Her approach to beauty was effortless. She wore lip gloss and flats during the day, high-heels and dark eye shadow at night. She wore her long dark brown hair to work in a bun. She usually dressed in black pants, black dresses, and rarely wore bright colors. She didnt like pink.
She never thought about cancer. After years of being a vegetarian, she started to eat chicken. She loved energy drinks and coffee specially caramel macchiato. She smoked lights or menthols occasionally.
She went from not drinking alcohol for seven years to drinking socially. Then stopped drinking again. And then while holding a rosé, she met a man who felt like magic. She guarded her independence zealously. She wanted a family but she wasnt worried about time. Until one day everything changed.
Whats wrong? I can hear it in your voice. Something is really wrong, he said. She told him she had something important to tell him in person when he got back. We havent been together very long, but if you are pregnant thats good news, he said jokingly.
No, thats not it. Fate would not have it that way.
I miss you. Ive had a crazy week ... I cant wait to kiss you, he said. She didnt say anything. She had decided she was going to break up with him. She had cancer. And even if she survived, her life would never be the same.
Part 8: Facing my fears after mastectomy
Part 11: Radiation therapy gives her hope
Part 12: Finding strength from others
Part 14: A new outlook on 2012
Part 17: After radiation therapy ends
From the Editor: Journalist confronts cancer, takes readers along