Beating Cancer, one day at a time

Beating Cancer, one day at a time

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


It's been nearly a month since I had my last chemotherapy treatment. I'm currently on a regimen where I receive my cocktail every third week. Everyone's different. We receive different dosages at different intervals depending on what works best. It's so interesting the way every treatment is so specifically personalized to each individual.

My Doctors tell me they're amazed at how much my body has been able to handle, especially after this many treatments. They started off my trial with extremely high doses of chemotherapy back in February. That's initially what they try and do. The idea is to shock the cancer as much as possible. Start off with very heavy doses and see how your body reacts. As your levels slowly decline (which will always inevitably happen) they begin to reduce the drugs and temper the medication with your blood counts. A constant balancing act between how much your body can handle, how you feel and how much medication they can sustain to best fight the cancer.

Since then, I've only missed one cycle due to low counts and they've barely reduced the drug levels. Most people wouldn't have lasted this long. As much as the side effects have been a little more daunting (I am receiving around double the amount another survivor would) it's a great indication of how strong my body is. The ability to bounce back after a couple of weeks is very impressive. The stronger my body is, the more drugs I can handle which in turn should give me the best results.

My counts dropped for the second time last week. My initial thought was disappointment. While most people would be eager to have another week or two off, I tend to take the news personally. Did I do something wrong? Could I have rested more? Had some more vitamins? Like I said, more chemo means more cancer killing. Every time we miss a treatment, I can't help but think we're letting it grow. This whole process is as much mental as it is physical. It's hard not to beat yourself up over delays. 

The truth is some things are entirely out of my control. It's not my fault my counts didn't return to where they need to be in order to treat. This would've happened no matter how much I rested or what I ate. So as I sat in the hospital last week feeling down on myself as they told me the news, you can imagine my shock as my Doctors literally turned to each other and chuckled about how surprised they are I've lasted this long, almost like an inside joke.

One thing I've learned over the past year is how unusual Doctor humour can be. Their ability to find comedy in the oddest of situations. Something you and I would never find funny, they manage to turn to each other and joke about. Not in an insensitive manner, that's just their way of thinking. I admire anyone in the healthcare field. Not only are they brilliant, but they think on a level most of us would never comprehend. They live and breath science, medicine and studies. I admire their skill and dedication to the field.

It's taken me a while to appreciate their ability to find humour in medical situations. It's the same way my oncologist would argue that chemotherapy helped me start walking again but my radiologist would counteract it and say it was the blast of radiation that did the trick. All in good fun of course. We'll never really know if it was one or the other, or a combination of both, that helped me regain function of my knee. But watching the two of them bicker back and forth like rival sports teams on a field discussing who's treatment was more successful can be quite comical.

It reminds me they're just like anyone else. Their job is filled with lots of big life altering decisions. I've watched the pain on their faces as they give me terrible news, I can only imagine how many difficult days they endure. So when they find time to laugh, even at things you and I deem unusual, I say good for them. It's just taken me a while to appreciate it. Almost like an outsider trying to understand the club. Not at my expense, but for their sanity I suppose. I often say laughter is the best medicine, so I think it's important they can find it from time to time.   

I was at the hospital again yesterday, this time in Barrie. I'll save my love for RVH for another day, but needless to say it was a pleasure to see my medical team here in town. It wasn't until after I left that I learned my counts are once again too low. I've since been reassured that this is in fact normal and I should relax. It's much easier said then done but I'm going to try and do my best. Like I said, this isn't my fault. While I like to beat myself up, I have to remember there's nothing I could've done differently.

As most of you know I'm a control freak. The problem with cancer is it's so highly unpredictable. Every week is a new adventure with different variables. I've been trying to find balance and make plans only to find out that my treatment is postponed for the past two weeks. Sometimes I wonder if I'm more upset my counts didn't bounce back or if I'm just annoyed I have to reschedule and adjust my routine.

All I can do is try and relinquish control as much as possible. It's all about tempering expectations and this week I just couldn't get there. Like I said, my Doctors are amazed I've lasted this long at such a high dose. I should find solace in the fact that I'm able to sustain the treatment as well as I do. Rather than beat myself up over low counts.

For now, I'm going to try and embrace another week off. Find time to enjoy myself and do what I do best - hope. Hope my blood work returns to normal (cancer normal) and focus on the positives. It was a good run while it lasted. This was expected eventually, everyone is different, my body is doing well and right now it just needs a break.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

People often stop and ask me how I do it, or wonder why I bother making my story such a public one. The truth is, I do it for myself just as much as others. I've said it on a consistent basis. The positive response I receive is overwhelming and gives me the strength to carry me through the roughest days.

I'll be honest with you, I sometimes get more messages from strangers than my own friends. I've learned to accept this as the new norm. Cancer can be such a scary thing. While the word itself is becoming more commonly used and understood, how to be there for someone battling this disease can be tricky.

Like I said, I get at least 10 messages a day from strangers telling me how inspirational I am or offering to lend a hand around the house. While I do surround myself with amazing friends and family, it's often the people I don't know that leave me in complete awe.

Tonya and Tina (fellow survivor)
A month ago a fundraiser was held in my honour, along with another survivor, Tina. I had never met Tonya, a Country singer, who organized the entire event and performed. But it was a pleasure to spend the night with her and all the others that joined us that evening. I've had a lot of fundraisers held for me since I was diagnosed, and I plan to write about that generosity another day, but what people don't understand is that while I appreciate the money - and it will certainly contribute towards my medical bills, etc. It's actually spending time with everyone that means the most to me. You can't put a price on that kind of support. The kind new people I have the opportunity to meet and the time spent with loved ones is such a blessing.

I'm so moved that Tonya and her husband included me in the evenings festivities. That without meeting me, still wanted to help my family and I. I want to thank everyone else that volunteered their time and efforts as well. I got to meet some great people that night but I think my favourite part was watching Tina receive a new wig. I know the struggle of going through chemo and losing your hair all too well, but that was Tina's first wig. The way her face lit up really touched my heart. We stood there - at the front of the venue, with all of our friends and family united by the same cause. Holding envelopes, wigs and heavy flowers, we joined hands and laughed. It's funny the way the two of us had never met but yet in that moment shared such a bond - two survivors surrounded by so much love. 

Stacey and Gord - Owners of the Midland Drive In
A couple weeks ago I was honoured with another amazing surprise. Stacey and Gord, the owners of the Midland drive in, heard how much I enjoy going so they got in touch with my family and decided to throw me 'A Night for Nicole.' It was literally just my friends, family and I in attendance. They shut down the entire venue and allowed me to pick one of my favourite movies - the original Ninja Turtles won. I had such a fantastic evening! Their friends, Jill and Sheila even volunteered their time to run the concession stand with unlimited snacks!

It wasn't the 80's movie or food that touched me that evening. It was just the idea that these people, that I had never met, genuinely wanted to do this random act of kindness for me. It turns out they all used to work there many years ago. I loved hearing stories of how they all met and worked there as kids -arguing over who was better at soft drinks vs. popcorn. Those lifelong friends found out about my story and just wanted to give me a special night out, what an amazing surprise!

As the movie ended, the endless popcorn bags were handed out and hugs exchanged all around, I couldn't help but think how luckily I am to get to know people like that. What they gave me was so much more than a handful of sweet memories. There must've been close to 50 balloons lining all of the speaker boxes of that field that night. As the festivities came to a close, they began to cut and release them into the dark sky. It was a beautiful sight to watch that many pink balloons float through the night and disappear. In that moment all I felt was love. It's things like that I can't even begin to thank people for.

There have been so many people that have come together to help my family and I over the past few months. Whether it was a night out, donation, warm meal or nice message. I could sit here for hours and write about the kindness of strangers. I can assure you there will be a lot more blog posts about it moving forward. There's just not enough 'thank yous' I can fit into one entry!

From the stranger that covered my bill at a restaurant, (I still don't know who you are) to the family that stopped me at the mall. Please, never feel like you can't approach me. I assure you those words of encouragement and thoughtful gestures made my day. To know that I have so many people following my story and offering their support means the world! You guys remind me that I'm not alone.

I wouldn't wish what I'm going through on anyone, but it's this journey that has given me the platform to get to know so many people. For that, I am very grateful.

Never underestimate how valuable you are to a survivor, or anyone for that matter. Random acts of kindness can go a long way. You don't have to be fighting Cancer or running a fundraiser to help people. Tell someone they're beautiful, hold open that door, or offer to lend a hand. If we all took the time to do more small acts of kindness we could make a big difference!

You guys have made a huge difference in my life. I will continue to fight and make my story public because like I said, it's all of you that remind me I can do this! It's all of your support that help me fight my battle! Together we're an army!

I assure you all of your messages and help have not been random or small. They've made such a big  impact on my life and for that I am forever grateful, thank you.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Relay For Life

For those of you who don't know, Relay for Life is an annual fundraising event hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society. My Mom has been the volunteer president for years now, as well as a two time Cancer survivor, so it's always been close to my heart.

I've always attended every year, but I have to admit, I never stayed long. I would go, listen to the opening ceremonies, buy some luminaries and then leave shortly after the walk started. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely overwhelmed by the evening.

One of the first times I remember crying, really crying, after being diagnosed was on our way back from one of my appointments. Mom was with me and could barely hear what I was trying to say through the tears, " walk the first lap." The sudden realization that I was a survivor, and what that entailed at Relay, really struck home.

Like I said, I've attended Relay for years, I've watched people walk the track amongst friends and family while candle lit luminaries light their path. But I've never wanted to walk the first lap. The one that meant I too have Cancer, I'm a survivor.
Last year every survivor carried a paddle to illustrate how long it had been since they were diagnosed. It's always so inspirational to see women like my Mom holding a sign that says '20 years.' At the time my paddle said '59 days.'

The whole experience was so new to me. It had been less than two months since the diagnoses and I was still struggling to understand it all. I had started chemotherapy, lost my hair and was spending all my time in and out of appointments. I missed the reality of the life I once knew. But more than anything, I missed work and all my friends.

I knew how important the evening would be but I didn't think anyone really knew about it. I assumed I might see some close friends and family, but I could never have anticipated the response I received. When they called all the survivors to the track for the first lap Mom and I joined hands with my Aunt (also a survivor) and prepared to take the first steps.

There's really no way for me to describe the next part. The honour of walking amongst a hundred other survivors as a crowd full of people cheer you on. I had watched this ceremony take place for years, but to actually stand amongst them and understand the struggle, there's no words.

I often talk about how the most important thing to a survivor is support. I have to say, I've never felt more love and compassion on that open field than I have in my entire life. Like I said, the diagnoses was all so new to me. To know that everyone there that night understood what I was going through. Whether they were a caregiver, volunteer or friend, they knew.

As we walked along the track and saw their faces, I shared every smile, felt every tear. The way people can join together and unite for such a cause, any cause really, is unbelievable. I had never met the hundreds of people that were cheering us on, but I didn't need to. We were all there for the same reason, and in that moment I didn't feel alone.

People often dress up in costume along with their survivor shirts and paddles. The three of us decided to wear capes. Looking back, it couldn't have been more appropriate. Not only did we feel like superheroes, but I swear we didn't just walk that first lap, we flew.

The relay is to celebrate life and all the survivors, but it's also to honour everyone that is no longer with us. The whole field is filled with luminaries lit up with names of survivors, past and present. Personally, I didn't expect to see many with my name. But as we approached the end of the track, Mom pointed to a bunch all placed in the shape of hearts. There they were, 300 to be exact. All personalized with my name and messages from friends and family.

I instantly broke into tears. I tried very hard to hide behind my sunglasses, but I couldn't. To know that everyone had been thinking of me the whole time meant everything. Everyone from work, including my regulars, had taken the time to donate and fill out these little white packages. All personalized with inside jokes and words of wisdom. I spent hours walking through each and every one of them, and I still have them a year later.

A lot has changed since my first Relay as a survivor. A year later, I would never question the support and love I have around me, but at the time it was still all so new. I can't thank everyone enough for taking the time to donate or be there. It meant the world.

I'm not feeling too well tonight, chemo was just a few days ago. But I can't wait to see everyone. The Canadian Cancer Society has become an extended part of my family. They do so much for myself and the community. I can always count on them to have my back.

I certainly don't expect to see 300 luminaries lit up with my name on them tonight, because I don't need to. But just to be able to walk the track and share the field with so many others is an honor in itself. I encourage everyone to participate if they ever have the chance. Unfortunately we've all been touched by someone battling Cancer. It's a terrible disease that units us, but beneath all the heartache and bittersweet memories is something beautiful. A chance for us all to stand together as one. As the sun sets, the speeches commence and the luminaries are lit one by one, we all join together for the same reason. To fight back, celebrate and remember!  

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Big Apple

Tomorrow morning is my 15th scheduled chemotherapy session. I've been off treatment for 5 weeks now, and let me tell you, the break was amazing!

I had forgotten how good, really good, it feels to have less drugs running through my veins. I talk a lot about craving normalcy, wanting to feel like everyone else. That's exactly what the past few weeks have felt like, normal. Actually, better than normal.

I spend so much time preparing for the down days, that when I feel good, I go hard. It's days like that, ones spent with friends and family, that carry me through when I'm stuck in bed or experiencing pain. The memories we created in New York help give me strength moving forward. It reminds me what I'm fighting so hard for, life.

My Mom and Derek had never been to Manhattan so we made sure to hit all of the best tourist sites along the way. It was so important I take a few days and get away. But it was more important that I share the trip with them. We've spent so much time over the past year in hospitals, worrying over scans and preparing for the future that sometimes we forget how to relax.

The first thing we did was venture to the top of the Empire State Building to overlook the whole city. There's something so humbling about watching one of the busiest cities in the world from 86 floors up. I'm terrified of heights, but quickly conquered my fear because lets face it, I've been through worse. I even made sure to take some pictures without any hats or wigs. Sure, I had people stop and stare but I didn't care. In that moment, I stood taller than any skyscraper in New York. I knew what those pictures represented. Yes, I have Cancer, but Cancer doesn't have me.

Despite being given a terrible prognosis only a few months ago, I'm living. Probably more than a lot of people I know. And for the first time since my honeymoon, I was given the opportunity to jump back on a plane and see the world.

Not only did we spend our four days running around the city taking in all of the sites, but I did it like a champ. A month ago I could barely get around my house without the use of a wheelchair. I literally thought I would never walk again. But this past week I climbed the tallest buildings, walked through my favourite museums and strolled through Central Park without any aid.

If I can do that, you guys can do anything.

One of my favourite parts of the trip was being invited backstage after we saw Chicago on Broadway. As you know, Mom and I are huge theatre fans so to be given the opportunity to stand on stage and look out into the audience was amazing! We even got to meet the cast. Not only were they very talented, but so sweet. I realise my friend Sam played the 'Cancer card' in order for the whole thing to come to fruition but that's ok. At first, watching Mom cry on stage hit home as I remembered that I'm sick (I really do forget sometimes) but then I realised I'm allowed to enjoy these moments. Yes, I wouldn't be backstage on Broadway in New York if I wasn't ill. But after everything we've been through, I think it's okay to allow people to do nice things for us. And if I get to meet Brandy, the lead and also one of my favourite singers growing up, then why not enjoy it?

I won't get into every detail from our trip, it would make for a very long blog. But just know that the whole experience really did give me a new lease on life. Feeling the warm breeze from the Ocean on my face as we took the Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, taking a bus tour to watch the sunset over the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Moma (my favourite painting) were just some of my most cherished moments.

More importantly, for four days I barely thought about the big C. Sure, I experienced some pain, pushed too hard and felt tired. But I wasn't worried. I didn't think about appointments, drugs or statistics. Instead, I just enjoyed the time with my family.

 It felt great to laugh, eat and walk around in the city that never sleeps. We didn't get much sleep either, but I don't mind. There will be plenty of time for that in the upcoming days. The break was just what I needed.

I was back at the hospital the morning after we landed home to find out my counts are back up to where they should be. My body is ready to handle the next round of treatment and so am I. It just goes to show you spending time with friends and family really can be the best medicine. Thank you for the memories and much needed rest, but tomorrow we fight!

Thank you and goodnight New York!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Flying High

It's been almost two weeks since I wrote about my scans and fear of impending results. I am happy to report that I received some amazing news - my tumors are shrinking and some previous lesions are no longer visible. To say that the scans were better than I anticipated would be an understatement. Happy Dance!!

It was shortly after my 'scanxiety' post that I received the eagerly anticipated phone call. My husband and I were in Home Depot picking up something (I have no idea what) to help with home renovations. Fixing up the kitchen has proven to be a great distraction for both of us. Anything to keep our minds occupied, even if it is just wondering through stores.

Derek was talking to a cashier when the phone rang. I tried to hide my panic as I stumbled away to the front of the store. My nurse instantly asked if I was sitting down. What?! No, I thought as I quietly found a wheelchair and plopped down. People don't say that for good news right? She quickly put me out of my misery, "you're scans came back, and they're amazing!" I instantly started crying. There's no way to describe the sense of relief that washed over me.

I honestly don't remember what she said in detail. I actually had to ask that she email me some specifics and admitted I had barely processed the phone call. I heard "good" and that's all I needed to hear. To see the look on my husbands face as I smiled through the tears was the best feeling. He quickly knew what it meant, and for the first time in a while, we could both breathe.

I often have to call my friends and family and give them bad news, or post updates on Facebook I'd rather not write. It was so gratifying to retreat to the car that day and share good results with those I love most.

For now, I can breathe a sigh of relief and know that the current 'cocktail' is working. We're headed in the right direction. To know that every 10 hour treatment, and all of the side effects that accompanied them, over the past few months have been helping means everything! This process can sometimes be hit or miss. Not all treatments work, and it can literally mean you're rolling the dice.

All that matters now is that the dice are in my favour. Eventually the Cancer will get smart and outwit my current medicine but currently it's losing the battle. Unfortunately my body can only take so many hits and last week it decided it needs a break. My blood levels dropped too low for treatment (a first for me) so I've had to take a couple weeks off.

At first the news devastated me. I've always been so quick to bounce back despite the high doses of chemotherapy. The idea that my body couldn't handle it scared the crap out of me. I was quickly reassured that this is normal. Eventually everyone needs a break or has to reduce the dose in order to continue. Like I've said before, it's all about finding the right balance.

I have to say, having the extra couple weeks off has been amazing. I'd forgotten how good it can feel to have less poison running through my body. Don't get me wrong, I'm still tired and ache, but there's no comparison. Is this how people are supposed to feel? I had completely forgotten.

I've learned to release some of my stoic control and accept the break. So much so that I finally got to book one of the trips I was looking forward to. I'm currently flying 30,000 ft. in the air with some of the people I love the most, on our way to New York!

I can't wait to take a bite out of the big apple. It's been a long few months and my family and I certainly deserve the break. It'll be nice to be a tourist for a few days and escape for a while.

I used a metaphor in my last entry comparing scans to jumping out of a plane. Well, not only did my parachute open but I've been given the opportunity to literally soar through the clouds. Let me tell you, the view is amazing!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Yesterday I had my first CT scan in over two months. The first one since I was accepted into clinical trial and started my new "chemo cocktail". I refer to it as a cocktail because the idea of a fancy mixed drink sounds much more appealing then a combination of poison running through my veins.

Testing and scans become a regular activity for any Cancer survivor, constantly checking to see how treatment is working, or how your body is being affected. But for those of us with metastasized disease these visits can become a frequent occurrence. In my case, every three months.

Cancer has the ability to take over your life and consume your thoughts. Always trying to regain control and plan ahead, while constantly battling the uncertainty of what the future might hold. Most of us know that we literally live from scan to scan. Our results can determine if we're moving in the right direction, shrinking tumours and delaying progression, or if life as we know it will soon be over.

Nothing is worse than what we refer to as 'scanxiety' which is exactly what it sounds like. The fear and anxiety that comes before, during, and after our scans.

Ever have those days where you literally can't turn your mind off? Whether it's something like your job or a bad break up? That ever consuming dread that's associated with your worst case scenario. Will I get fired? Are they breaking up with me? Well consider that, then multiply it by A LOT. Because lets be honest, our worst case scenario doesn't get much scarier.

Everyday we are fighting for our lives. And don't get me wrong, there are good days and bad. You learn to cherish those precious moments and forget about the tough times. But I assure you, nothing is more scary then waiting for the impending results. Unfortunately, it never gets any easier.

The best thing you can do is distract your mind. Easier said then done, but I've learned a few tricks over the past year that help aid the process. I wont get into my list of top ten distractions today, but the idea is simple - try to focus on something, anything but the idea of progression.

I talk a lot about tempering expectations, preparing yourself for the worst. So that if it actually happens it won't hurt as bad. The problem with that is even when we receive good news, we spend so much time worrying about the bad that it can be hard to enjoy the good.

I know it can be the hardest thing to do, but you need to stay positive. Border line delusional, mind numbingly optimistic. Because there just can't be another alternative.

I'm always so grateful for my support system. Every friend and family member sending me positive vibes. I take every good thought and prayer and store it deep down. I feed off that energy. I use humour to try and flip even the worst situations. There are times when I don't even believe it myself, but there just has to be a silver lining.

 It's like every three months I jump out of a plane. I spend weeks anticipating the flight -adrenaline pumping, short of breath and preparing for the unknown. But it doesn't matter how many practice sessions we do, there's no way to predict what's going to happen. So instead I just jump. I take a deep breath and plunge into the cold air, hoping for the best. Because that's all I can do, hope. I free fall through the sky and pray that my parachute will catch me. That I'll be able to sail safely a while longer.

Because let's be honest, it's happened before. My parachute didn't release and I've never fallen so hard and fast in my life. I don't know how many more times I can hit the ground and get back up. So I try to keep myself from shaking and crying. There's just no other alternative, I need to believe that I'll be carried in the right direction. That I'll feel instant relief as my backpack tugs me back up in the sky. I know I'll have to jump again in three months, and it will be just as scary... But for now, please, let me catch my breath and enjoy the horizon.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Almost famous?

Some people dream their whole lives about being famous. To see their name displayed in lights, or spread across a headline of a newspaper. I was never one of those individuals. I pride myself in enjoying the simpler things in life. Good friends, a hot bath and a quiet book.

I've had one hell of a year, but last week was by far one of the most surreal moments of my life. I've always been very open and honest about my journey but I never could've anticipated the kind of response I've received. You can imagine my surprise when I had a friend message to tell me I was featured on between the Princess and Drew Barrymore, "what?!"

Like I said, some people search their whole lives for that kind of 'celebrity status' whether they've achieved it by demonstrating great talent or simply marrying rich, to each their own. I never expected to be in the spotlight, especially because I have Cancer. When did Nicole Jannis become so famously known as the "girl that could?"

I'm honoured that people have found my story so inspiring. It's amazing that journalists have taken an interest and are helping me share my journey with others. Most people would jump at the opportunity to be given such a platform. But with a voice, a steady climbing audience and new found stardom comes a certain level of responsibility. What do I want to say?

I'm grateful for the thousands of friend requests I've received over the past week, the millions of views and all the positive feedback and comments. But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't overwhelming. Within one week I was featured on HLN, Yahoo Canada, People and Time. That's unbelievable!

I wont get into the details of that video, you've all seen it by now, the one they love to screenshot for all the articles (love midsentence pictures). I filmed it 24 hours after being told my Cancer had advanced to stage 4 and spread through out my body. It's so surreal to imagine that only a few months ago I was given the most devastating information of my life, and now that video is being viewed by millions of people. To think, when I started this, it was just a way for me to share my news. And now, I'm the one being featured on the news.

It's been over a year since I made my first video (days after I was originally diagnosed) of me chopping off my hair and declaring "fuck cancer" for the very first time. In the beginning, the videos were just for me. I found it empowering to take charge and prove to the world that I could fight back. Social media was as much of a distraction as it was the easiest way to keep in contact with my friends and family.

Doing interviews, speaking on camera and giving speeches at large functions became an overnight norm for me. Sharing my journey was just as important as fighting it. I always believed that if this was something I had to go through, maybe I could help someone. It's easier to believe that, that maybe everything happens for a reason. That I was given this battle so that something greater might come of it.

Well a lot of good certainly has come of it. Through out this journey I've had the opportunity to meet more people than I would've ever thought possible. I want to personally thank every journalist, photographer and member of the media that has reached out over the past year. That have not only found my story inspirational, but have done an amazing job sharing it.

One of my favourite photographers became renowned for taking pictures of other celebrities. Annie Leibovitz once said, "I'm more interested in being good than famous." I think that's very true of her work, it's beautiful and speaks for itself.

I'm not trying to compare myself to one of the best photographers of our time, but I resonate with what she's trying to say. It's more important to me that I help raise awareness, share my story, and inspire others than being featured on any leading website. But I'm grateful for the opportunity.

I can only hope that you all continue to find my story inspiring. I've been so blessed to meet amazing survivors that help empathise with this diagnoses better than anyone. I'm honored they can relate to my entries and articles, I hope I do them justice.

Perhaps last week was just my '15 minutes of fame' and I'm okay with that. I never thought I would be known as the positive girl fighting Cancer, but that's what I am, a fighter. Despite the fact that this whole experience is a little overwhelming, I'm willing to accept it and keep trying. If just one person reads these articles and it helps change their life, then it's all worth it.

I may never see my name across a billboard, or sign a record deal, but I'm okay with that. I'm honored to be the 'girl that could.' I promise to continue my battle the only way I know how, with positivity, humour, and all of you. And maybe one day I'll be the 'girl that did.'

I've posted some of the links below if you'd like to check them out. I should warn you, I'm trying to keep it real and my quotes are a little unorthodox, but so am I. Please don't wash my mouth out with soap.