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I had posted this last year but one of my friends who I met on this site asked me to repost, I hope that's ok.

In November of 2012, in the midst of a brutal divorce. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. This has been the most challenging three years of my life, I have felt heart-wrenching lows, but also moments that were pure, unadulterated joy. Through the fire and pain I have a new awareness of who I am, and I can honestly say I love myself. Pretty amazing, I am a forty nine year old breast cancer survivor, newly divorced, facing financial hardship, starting over in almost every conceivable way and I think I am incredible. Even more surprising despite all the stress, I am happy.

This has been a roller coaster ride, but I have held on tight to my faith, laughed, loved , cried a little and grown into the women I was always meant to be.

My journey has taught me life is how you interpret it. I can look at the devastating losses I've experienced or I can look at the cancer and divorce as my chance to start over, to recreate myself; my second chance to live.

I see myself as the mythical Phoenix, rising from the ashes. I am scarred from the fire, but I am radiant and more beautiful than ever before. I am also more powerful.

It isn't easy to get to this moment of metamorphosis. It is scary and painful to let your old self burn in the flames. I have been consumed by fear. I have felt anger for my losses. Countless things that breast cancer robs you of, security, your feminine identity your identity as a healthy person. I have found that this journey has been about learning. The cancer in a strange way was also about healing my life and my spirit. It is ironic, that it took facing my death, to teach me that I needed to learn how to live.

Tammy Garza
Kenosha, WI

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