Hi! I’m Heather and welcome to my hangout! I thought I’d share a little about me.
This blog is about LIVING with and beyond cancer. We keep things real, raw and personal, and always try to find sunshine in each day. Whether you’re a cancer survivor, caregiver, someone affected by this disease (or any), this blog is here to help you manage your journey through cancer and beyond. Because we can all use support in life, right?
Know why I started this blog? Because while cancer is ugly, life is beautiful.
As a bone cancer, melanoma and breast cancer survivor (crazy, huh?), I know the challenges that living with and beyond cancer (and treatment) bring to life. My younger sister is also a cancer survivor and we lost our sweet dad to multiple myeloma so I also understand the emotions of watching your loved one go through the disease. Through each challenge I face in life, I found strength, positivity, possibilities, smiles and love. And I want to help others fighting this disease.
This blog is about living beyond cancer, and living life to the fullest! I focus on cancer talk, tips and experiences, and sprinkle in fun activities, adventures in exploring the world and more. It may at times seem random, but it’s about living life, sharing kindness and smiles, seeking adventures, helping others and finding happiness and love.
As a three-time cancer survivor, I feel gratitude for each day. I’m told that I am a never-ending optimist – I take those comments as very kind compliments. Besides, doesn’t it feel so much better to be happy and positive? Life is a journey. As a cancer survivor and simple human being, I’m blessed to be here to experience it.
Here are some random fun facts about me:
- I grew up in Michigan (and still live here). As cheesy as it may be, I love that I can show people where I live in Michigan on my hand (the mitten state!).
- I was mayor of my hometown (for a day in high school).
- I wrote my first book in third grade about a girl loving horses. I also drew the pictures (and later realized that I was not going to be an artist!).
- I love to sing! I am often ‘caught’ sining in store aisles and my car. I once had someone buy my coffee in the a drive thru line because he heard me singing and appreciated that I was enjoying the day so much!
- I started riding horses at 9 years old (thanks to my awesome mom and dad). I showed hunter/jumpers, helped train Quarter Horses and exercised racehorses until bone cancer surgery replaced part of my femur/tibia with titanium at 21 years old. I never owned a horse of my own but cleaned stalls and helped at the barn in exchange for riding and some owners invited me to ride/show their horses. To this day, horses are my spirit animal and being in their presence immediately brings me peace and joy.
- After spending 17 days in the hospital during bone cancer treatment, I’m addicted to fresh air and sunshine. I love hiking, biking, gardening, and simply relaxing in the shade of a tree.
- While I take caution with the rod in my leg, I love to be active and am up for trying lots of new activities. I try not to let my leg surgery hold me back. Which is why I’ve rock climbed, zip lined and backpacked in Montana, hiked a long a glacier in Alaska, biked across Iowa and a few more fun activities.
- I’ve seen New Kids on the Block in concert seven times (yes, yes, I have).
- I love wheat craft beer, white wine and peppermint tea.
- When I meet people who live outside of Michigan, I caution them about inviting me to come visit because I most likely will! I love traveling, exploring new places and meeting new friends.
- I eat grape tomatoes like candy, love chips/salsa and Swedish Fish candy are my weakness.
- After my femur was replaced with a titanium rod due to bone cancer, I told strangers that I was on crutches because I was injured playing hockey with a Red Wings’ player (and they believed me!).
- I found my first gray hair at 43….in the middle of cold capping to save my hair from chemo (I saved almost 60% of my hair!) so I couldn’t pull it (stress/pressure on the scalp could have caused more hair follicles to fall out). It made me laugh at the irony and I took it as a sign that life was moving on and would be just fine.
Want some tips, inspiration and smiles? I invite you to be part of Heather’s Hangout by subscribing to my blog (below the pictures). You can also follow my adventures as a cancer survivor on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
I’m also open to collaborations, speaking engagements (see topic samples), writing opportunities and more. Learn about working with me and check out my ‘professional’ bio here. You can see what I’ve been up to with some of my work, interviews and more here.