Emily – Louisville,KY

April 2018

Love radiates from Emily.  Love, sparkles and joy.  Not because life is easy, but because she lives life intentionally in the moment with gratitude.   

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer.

I love to cook! I love meal planning and exploring Pinterest to find amazing recipes.  We have a CSA market share and I’ve learned how to use vegetables that I’m not familiar with.  I make 3 meals a day. I love creating healthy food for our family to enjoy.

How do you live life over cancer?

I find hope in the true support my family and I have received from our community.  From local family to friends spread across, honestly, the WORLD and merging from all walks of life; it has been amazing.  I have been fortunate to never feel alone in this fight.  There have been days, hard days, that I literally would meditate and visualize the hands of those who love us lifting me up.

I also find hope in the cards and photos I receive from family and friends.  I’ve been mailed some truly amazing cards that are not only beautiful but also filled with messages of love and hope.  I’m honored that so many people have taken the time to choose a card, write a message, and let me know they are on my team.  Every time I’m in-patient, I tape a new crop of cards up in my room as they arrive.  I love to watch it grow and FILL the room.  Even doctors and nurses comment on how the collection just radiates love and changes the atmosphere of the room.

How do you live life over cancer?

I strive to live as much of a normal life as possible, even while I’m in-patient for weeks on end!  I say a prayer of gratitude  every morning I wake up and then I “write out” my goals and intention for the day.  Sometimes this has been as mundane as “take a shower.”  Other times, it’s as grand as “Attend a concert.” I find that writing it out gives me the ability to review my day and helps me appreciate what I’ve actually accomplished by the end of the day.  Especially on days when I don’t feel like I’ve won at life.

I’m a different person than I was 18 months ago, pre-diagnosis. As my new normal, I live a slower paced life and frankly, I love it.  I’m much more likely to concentrate on smaller goals.  I am more intentional about how and where I spend my time and with whom.  I try not to multi-task these days.  My husband and daughter can probably say the same thing.  We’ve all learned that life is too precious to not be fully present.

How did you become connected with Hope Scarves? 

I received four Hope Scarves as gifts while I was in in-patient treatment hundreds of miles away from home.  They were wrapped so colorfully and instantly brought a smile to my face,  knowing my friends back home were thinking of me.  When I read the stories I felt connected to the power of the scarves.  I told everyone in St. Louis about the program started in my hometown of Louisville and showed off my Hope Scarves with pride.

What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

I hope others will share their story and return their scarf.  It was just as meaningful to share my words of encouragement and pass it on as it was to receive it that first time.  I think a lot of people miss how special that part is.   You can be a beacon of light for someone else just as your scarf and story was for you.

I also wish people recognized Hope Scarves isn’t just for breast cancer patients. Women affected by a range of cancers are incredibly grateful for the support that Hope Scarves offers.  Raising awareness and connection for other survivors, such as AML, is important.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to someone facing cancer?

Sending a Hope Scarf is one of the beset ways to tell  a woman you are on her team.  To lift her up by reminding her that she’s not alone.  I can promise you she will think of you every time she wears her Hope Scarf.  She will also find connection in knowing that another woman who has walked this path and has passed on this scarf to her is cheering her on.

What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

I dream of seeing my daughter graduate from high school and then college. I want to grow old with my husband and travel when we are retired.  I loved having my own business.  But, while I was in remission I sold/closed my business knowing I needed to focus on my health. Once I’m finished with my 2nd bone marrow transplant I look forward to being healthy and strong enough to mentor small business owners and provide business counseling.

What is your favorite quote?

Fear less, hope more;

Eat less, chew more;

Whine less, breathe more;

Talk less, say more;

Hate less, love more;

and all good things are yours. 

– Swedish Proverb

If your friends or family described you in a couple words what would they say?

If it involves glitter, I’m in.  If it involved live music, I’m there. If there is a reason to party, I’m your girl.

Please share something you learned facing cancer.

I have learned the importance of mindfulness and breath work. I had a meditation practice before my diagnosis, but now it is even more key to helping me stay present and to be in the now.  So many people on the outside look in and say ” I don’t know how you do what you do.  There’s no way I could do it.”  But, you could.  Nobody can eat an elephant all in one sitting.  If you face cancer that way it’s going to look impossible!  But, when you are in it, you just take one tiny bite at a time.  It’s helpful to remember; all I ever have to do is today.  It does no good to worry.

Meditation and breath work keep me in the present and focused on that one tiny piece of the elephant.  It helps me get a little further down the path. Then, all of a sudden I can look back and realize, I’m doing it.  And then, I’ve done it.

I have not had a choice in my circumstance but I do have a choice in how I respond.  Having a mindfulness and meditation or prayer practice helps quiet my mind and reduces my worry about the future. It encourages me to find gratitude and keeps me in touch with myself.