Life After Cancer

4 Lessons in Change 4 Years After My Cancer Diagnosis

I can’t believe today marks 4 years since my breast cancer diagnosis! In some ways it’s been the longest 4 years of my life and in other ways the ups and downs have made the time fly by. As I reflect on the past 4 years, I am sharing the 4 biggest lessons I have learned since my diagnosis, all of which seem to center around change.

4 Lessons Learned 4 Years After My Cancer Diagnosis

1. You are going to continue to change and it’s that change that allows you to find your true self.

4 Lessons in Change; 4 Years Cancer Free

The first 6 months after my cancer treatment, I wanted life to return to “normal”. Little by little I realized that it was not possible to return to the life I once knew, because I had changed. I could never be that young hopeful naive woman again and I suffered a great sense of loss and grief at that realization. With time I have come to see change as an opportunity to better understand myself and reevaluate my priorities.

Cancer, pregnancy, loss, and death…each challenge we are faced with is an opportunity to redefine our path as we move forward. By accepting that change is constant, I have been given the opportunity to continually reinvent myself. It is through each of those reinventions from woman to patient, from patient to mother that I find a deeper connection with my sense of self.

2. Life will be filled with moments of sadness, pain AND joy. Honor each of the seasons as they each play a role in your story.

4 Lessons in Change; 4 Years Cancer Free

It’s easy to spend the majority of our lives waiting and hoping for the good moments, but what if we took time to honor the tough moments as well. We’re usually so focused on putting the painful times behind us that we rush ahead without acknowledging what we have faced and how we have grown. Without the sadness and pain, we are unable to fully appreciate our seasons of joy. I have come to accept each emotion for what is it and see each emotional season as a valuable part of my journey. Many times this means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and that is still something I have to work on constantly.

3.Your story is unique and worth sharing

4 Lessons in Change; 4 Years Cancer Free

It’s easy to miss the value in our own story. We think we should swallow our experiences and move on in isolation. This couldn’t be more detrimental to ourselves and those around us. It is our stories that make us who we are and help us form connections. Looking back, I see now that I never valued my own story enough to let others truly see me. I lived in a bubble of insecurity.

In the years following my diagnosis, I have been able to develop a stronger sense of self-worth and purpose as I continue to share my experiences with the world. It is also through the stories of others that I am continually inspired and motivated. You have to believe your story is unique and worth telling. You never know who your experiences and reflection may help.

4. People come into your life for a reason and sometimes only for a season.

4 Lessons in Change; 4 Years Cancer Free
4 Lessons in Change; 4 Years Cancer Free

As I mentioned above change is a constant and people are no different. Everyone moves through life on different paths and sometimes those paths align forming a connection. When I was going through treatment I needed a certain type of support and friendships, different from the relationships and support I now need as a blogger, advocate and soon to be mother. For every season of my life I have found different connections and they are each valuable in their own way.

I have come to accept that people can come and go in my life and it doesn’t change the value they brought to my life at a particular moment in time. I am no longer angry when someone can’t relate to what I am facing, and how could I? I have faced more trauma in my 31 years than many people face in a lifetime. Not everyone can relate to that, and that’s OK. The people that can relate or sympathize are there when I need them and that’s enough. As my life continues to evolve, the relationships I have will have to change as well.

I know this was a long post and more reflective and personal that some of my recent fashion posts, but I hope it brought you some value, insight or inspiration. As I move into my 5th year since my cancer diagnosis and we begin a new season as parents, I know the one constant will be that everything will continue to change.


    Melisande Balleste

    July 6, 2019

    Wonderful blog. I cannot wait for the next chapter in your life: motherhood.

    Kim T

    July 6, 2019

    Lovely post. I have to tell you that your blog is the only connection I have to someone my age going through a breast cancer diagnosis. I’m thirty-one and was diagnosed in March. I feel so alone because everyone around me being treated is much older, not that their experience isn’t important but it’s so different. At 31 we are supposed to be beautiful, healthy,strong and having babies. And while all my friends are doing just that, I’m bald, sick and soon to be boobless.

    I’m so happy that you’re expecting! Reading your story gives me hope that one day I’ll be there too.

    Thank you <3


      July 6, 2019

      I am sending you all the baby dust when you time comes. That’s exactly why I started blogging almost 4 years ago to help young women like us find hope.


      July 22, 2019

      It must be meant to come across to your website while i was pushing myself to normality only one month after the end of the treatments.
      And being comfortable with uncomfortable…
      What I have to learn
      Thank you 🌺


    July 6, 2019

    Can’t change me out, I’m in it for all the seasons.

    Love you babe,

    janie Barlow

    July 8, 2019

    You are right , you do change , sometimes for the better. The ultimate thing is , you have no choice ,but to change. I was a happy go lucky , fit , 53 year old and I have lost a lot, my eyebrows and hair(, which 16 months later , still haven’t returned ),my boobs and the only thing I haven’t lost is my weight , that I have gained more of!!!. But , I am still here .


    July 9, 2019Reply

    Wow. I needed to read this. I have been grieving my old life since I finished chemo in 2013. I am still angry. I get depressed. I want my old hair back – it never came back the same. I want the energy I used to have back. I feel like I am fighting but in the totally wrong direction. Please keep sharing your experience. You have a talent for reflecting on your story and experience while helping others like me. Bless you.

    Kanika Morales

    July 9, 2019

    Anna, this is a lovely post. I am not very good at expressing my feelings in words but I can feel your emotions in this post. I am sad about a lot of things that cancer took and did to my body. But, I have much more good days and that is life with my husband, kids, friends, and family members. I am SUPER happy for you and your husband as you both join the “mommy & daddy” club😁. You will have many sleepless nights once that Princess arrive, but embrace every moments of it because those sleepless nights will be the one you remember the most when she is a teen. 😁. God bless your family and the little Princess!


      July 10, 2019

      Thank you so much for your kindness and support. We are so excited for our little boy to arrive and enjoy every moment even the sleepless nights 🙂


    July 10, 2019

    Hi Anna we emailed a few times and I am very inspired by your blog. I just turned 40 and went thru surgery chemo and rads last year. I was JUST telling a friend tonight that I am not the same person I was before diagnosis but feel I am a better version because I am more in tune and echo what you wrote, understand my purpose. I also agree with our stories being unique and worth telling, because by doing so we impact others. Thank you for writing your blog that resonates so well with going through this experience. And of course, congratulations!

    Esmeralda Aparicio

    July 29, 2019

    Thanks for those words because I thought I was the only one that went though changes toward people around me. They don’t change I have. I think so differently now that I’ve had (breast cancer) this live changing experience. Thank you again. We are survivors.

    Dr. Vivek Kashyap

    April 25, 2020Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us, you are great woman and you have defeated the cancer. So everyone must have to influence from you. Again thanks a lot for sharing your story with all of us.

    Stanley Thomas

    September 1, 2020Reply

    Ur make was very very natural, it did not look as if u have applied any kind of make up. Lovely!!! It was really really helpful!!!

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