Warrior | Catalyst For Change Wear August
Our partnership with Catalyst For Change Wear continues to be an honor and a privilege. We once again had the chance to capture CFC's August Warrior/Strength stories. We'll let them speak for themselves.
While in utero Peyton was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Defects. A pediatric cardiologist confirmed that she had multiple holes in her heart (vsd’s) and her coarctation arch was narrow and not straight. After Peyton was born she was immediately brought to NICU for monitoring. The cardiologist said we had to wait for her to tell us when she would need surgery. Not knowing when that would be she wasn’t allowed to eat because her stomach had to be empty. She had her first open heart surgery at 10 days old. The surgeons weren’t able to get to some of the vsd’s and said she would need a second heart surgery. While she was healing she was finally allowed to eat but she wasn’t taking to the bottle. The doctors said that because she wasn’t allowed to eat when she was first born she missed the window for taking a bottle to be natural. This led to her needing an ng feeding tube. After 30 days in the hospital she got the ok to go home and was discharged. After getting home she was assigned a wonderful team of nurses, a feeding specialist, pt and ot. At three months old she had a g-tube surgery. At seven months old she had her second open heart surgery. About a month and a half after the second heart surgery her cardiologist gave us the best news that her heart is healed! While she still has the feeding tube that doesn’t stop her from being a happy and very active toddler.
Peyton teaches her family and friends that strength is being patient, determined and having a positive attitude.
Emma-Leigh is a spunky 14 year old who has had to accept that her body isn't that of a normal 14 year old. Dealing with things like masses on her spine and her neck unable to support her head. Emma has to watch from the sidelines as her friends play sports and ride carnival rides. Strength means facing painful treatments head on. Strength means it's OK to be scared. Emma is a warrior because even though she fights hard, she continues to help others, like her, get through this journey.
"I’ve battled cancer 2 times - Burkitts Lymphoma 30 years ago and I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer 3 years ago...3 weeks after turning 50. TNBC is aggressive...you have to aggressively treat it to beat it. I had a single mastectomy, appointments at Dana Farber, chemo and had my other breast removed a year later. I opted for no reconstruction. I prefer not wearing my “foobs”, but I’m still not totally comfortable out in public. I have to tell myself there are people that struggle with issues that are a lot worse than not having breasts. I’m here today because of my family and friends...my village. When I cried, they made me laugh. When I said I couldn’t, they believed I could. I’ve participated in the Tri For A Cure the past 2 years. I’ve met amazing women who have faced similar diagnoses, they inspire me. Being a warrior, having strength and a positive outlook...some days it’s a struggle for sure, but if you dig deep you can find the badass inside yourself!"
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2017. After 15 months of treatment including chemotherapy and multiple surgeries I am happy, relieved and grateful to say that in September of 2018, I will celebrate 1 year of being cancer free. Strength comes in a variety of different ways for different people. To me, strength was not giving in to cancer. Strength was facing the storm head on and getting up everyday, ready to fight the fight. Strength is also listening to my body, saying no when I needed to and resting when I needed to rest. In a world where many of us feel the pressure to always say yes and do more, it often took a lot of strength to say no when I needed to. I am a firm believer that the body follows the mind and so strengh is not only taking care of my physical health but making sure I was also taking care of my mental health during one of the scariest times of my life.
I believe that we are all warriors. We all have some kind of cancer in our life. Something that is scary, overwhelming or anxiety provoking. Sometimes we have no control over these situations and thats when the warrior in each of us comes out with how we choose to face those cancers in our life.
I have a beautiful life now. I'm happy, healthy and have made some of the most amazing friendships because of cancer. Cancer brought me gifts that I never would have received if it weren't for my diagnosis and I will always be grateful for that. I can't imagine my life any different then it is today."
"I’m an alcoholic 6.5 years sober - working a program of recovery that involves a 12 step program and a serious dedication to myself. I’ve overcome a troubled past with a felony record to work in HR at a respectable nonprofit helping folks get jobs and being a team player. Last year my partner of 11 years left me without warning and I became suicidal - I doubled-down on my commitment to my recovery and my workout routine and have (with only Sundays off) now hiked a good number of the highest mountains in ME and NH - I’m living in MY moment and embracing the now - every day is a new opportunity to succeed and overcome new challenges - I want to be an inspiration to others and lead by example. That is why I am a warrior."
"I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation 7 years ago after my first stroke. I was 27. My skull was basically trying to give birth to my brain. Since 2011 I have had 2 brain surgeries, the most recent being 7 months ago. With Chiari comes a LOT of brother and sister disorders. There is no cure for this illness. Every day I find strength in my kids, they bring out my inner warrior. My poor kids have seen a lot in their young age, but the one thing they won't ever, EVER see is me give up. Being a warrior to me is more then just being strong, it is being weak, it is tears and pain, it is a battle between giving up and pushing on. It is staying positive when there is no good news in sight. It is lifting up our fellow chiari warriors on their dark days. But beyond anything being a warrior means I know damn well this illness won't beat me without a fight."