It is often in the darkest skies, that we see the brightest stars.
My story begins on January 15, 2015. I had just lost 25 pounds, got my nutrition under control and was loving my life. I had 3 beautiful children, a wonderful husband and I loved having my 2 DREAM jobs!
I am a health & wellness coach and a kindergarten teacher. Life couldn't have been better. It was a snow day and my family & I were home from school. I found a lump in my neck. Three days later, I was diagnosed with stage 3s Hodgkins Lymphoma. I fought through 12 rounds of chemo, all while trying to be the best mommy I could be considering the circumstances.
In August 2015, I was declared a survivor! Those words were magic! The next year was filed with living in "moments" and fulfilling some of the things on my bucket list. I wanted to support those afflicted by this disease so I spoke at events, participated in walks and started my own Facebook support group. I made it a point to be a life line for people to feel hope from my experiences. Little did I know that as I approached a milestone birthday over the summer, my life was about to be turned upside down again.
On August 4, 2017, the night before my 40th birthday, 2 sort years into surviorship, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am now into my 2nd fight and hope one day to soon be hearing those magical words...
"You are cancer free!"
In late December of 2016, my family and I were told the news that my mom had Ductal Carcinoma, Stage 1A Breast Cancer. Her diagnosis was not easy to accept, and it came out of left field.
What we thought was a benign cyst turned out to be our worst nightmare.
The doctors told us that they found the cancer early, which we were so fortunate about, but that she would need a lumpectomy and 6 weeks of radiation. I thought to myself, how can this be possible? My mom, my best friend, my sidekick, how can she be sick? I couldn’t enjoy the holidays, I felt numb and extremely depressed. I was graduating with my Associate’s Degree from Westchester Community College, and it was supposed to be an exciting time, yet I felt broken inside. All that kept running through my head was the horrid word, “cancer.”
I spent every day up until the time of her surgery (and even after her surgery) worrying and wondering if she would be OK. I worried at the hospital during her surgery, and I worried through the many weeks of her radiation treatment. I still worry about her, but I find comfort in knowing that she is in remission.
My mom is truly the kindest and most loving person. She always takes the best care of me and my family. She is there to make us smile, and she is there when she we need a shoulder to cry on. I pray that she will continue to be cancer free, I love her too much to live this life without her.
Also, I want to thank the amazing Radiology Team at Hudson Valley Hospital and the surgery center at Northern Westchester Hospital for taking excellent care of my mom!
It was August 12, 1995 when I got a call from my brother telling me he and my sister in law were about to be parents again. A couple hours later I got the news that a beautiful baby girl has joined our family. Sarah Elizabeth Poulin had finally arrived. I could not be more excited to see her.
I finally got to meet her the next day. As I expected she was in fact beautiful and perfect. It was great to spend time with her and her big sister. Doing all the things an uncle gets to do. Play, hug and just enjoy.
Well, three months later I get a call from my mom saying that Sarah went to her 3 month checkup with the Dr. They found a lump on the back of her head and they believe she may have leukemia. The next day the results came in. The answer is YES on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Needless to say that news hit my whole family very hard. What followed were months of chemotherapy and radiation. Then thanks to an amazing guy whom we never met, she got her bone marrow transplant.
It was during this time I was going through my own health issues and was not allowed to visit as much as I wanted to. Eventually she started to do very well. We all were starting to feel good that maybe she would come through this. In August My brother and sister in law had a huge 2nd birthday party for her. Over 80 people showed up. She was starting to not feel so good at this point.
We learned few days later that the leukemia had returned. There was a lot of fear that this is not going to turn out well. She started back on chemotherapy treatments to prepare her for a second bone marrow transplant. Then on November 10th I got the call I was expecting while at me job. She had died.
It is unnatural to go to a wake and funeral of a 2 year old. What were we to do? How do we help my brother, sister in law and Sarah’s big sister Mary. I invited them to come and be a part of their first Relay For Life events. Come and see what its like. Well that was helpful to them. See so many people who don’t know you but supports you. It is my belief that Relay is all that is great about the human spirit. It has been my mission to keep Sarah’s memory alive. Which I have done. If anyone who knows me does not know about Saarah then you probably don’t know me well.
I'm happy to open up this blog! I'll be writing personal posts & reflections. I'll also be sharing stories from those of you interested on being a guest blogger. Email us if you're interested!