Life After Trauma: How I Found My Normal

Do you miss that feeling? The normal feeling from before?

I do.

The feeling of not having doctor appointments all of the time.

The feeling of not having to take Tamoxifen for ten years.

The feeling of not having to worry about relapsing from cancer.

The feeling of not having to worry about a future hysterectomy I may or may not need.

The feeling of having real breasts.

The list can go on, but I choose for it not to. See, I have the power in my hands to decide what I want to feel, what I want as normal, and what I allow my energy to focus on.

The moment I found myself facing the most traumatic experience during my 20’s, I realized the curse of having cancer was actually a blessing in disguise.

Yes, I said “a blessing”. It may sound weird to say, but I chose to view cancer as just that.

Perhaps, surviving allowed me to come to this particular change in perspective or the fact that I had a 50/50 chance of beating the damn thing. But, truth is, all I knew was that I wanted to live a normal life once again.

I missed feeling normal.

I missed feeling like me.

I missed feeling the bliss of life.

But, almost everything I “missed” was not far from reach. I had the ability to make the change I wanted to see and feel.

So, I did just that.

But, I was still confused as to what living a normal life even meant. As soon as I began normalizing the idea of this list I kept viewing it as a burden to the root of who I am – to who I was meant to become.


And although this list seems pretty crappy (because it is), I’m sure we all relate differently. My normal is Tamoxifen, Lupron and my bilateral mastectomy, but it includes redefining life after cancer by:

-living life beyond my diagnosis,
-empowering myself to feel strong through weight lifting,
-accepting the chapter I will never be able to change,
-thanking cancer for the woman it allowed me to become,
-understanding that my diagnosis is not who I am, but a part of helping me find my purpose, and
-fueling my purpose with a new normal.

Cultivating this new life by finding my new normal began with letting go of the past and understanding I needed to accept the chapter that was never going away. This internal validation I suddenly had, enhanced such a negative chapter into showing me what is truly important.

My life.

I had this second chance at life. I intended on living it. I am now 27 years old and one thing I can leave you with is this – I chose to close a chapter and live life as if I never had cancer.

This is my normal.

And, although it left behind a number of scars, I’ve learned to close those wounds by being thankful.

We may all walk a different journey, but we all have the ability to make a choice. What is your choice?

With love, Kristin Marissa

Click here to read more stories about the ‘new normal’ after a cancer diagnosis.

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