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, I know the challenges that living with 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 faced 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 fun facts about me (at least I think they’re fun!):
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 promptly realized I was not going to be an artist).
I love to sing! I am often ‘caught’ singing in store aisles and my car. I once had someone buy my coffee in a drive thru line because he heard my singing and appreciated that I was enjoying the day so much!
I started riding horses at 9 years old (thank you, Mom and Dad!). I showed hunter/jumpers, helped train young 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.
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.
When people assume I can’t do something because of the rod in my leg (without asking me if I want to/can), it makes me more focused to try. Which is why I’ve rock climbed, zip lined and backpacked in Montana, hiked along a glacier in Alaska, biked across Iowa and a few more fun activities.
I’ve seen New Kids on the Block in concert six times (yes, yes, I have).
I love wheat craft beer and white wines (red wines make me get flushed and warm).
I eat grape tomatoes like candy, love chips/salsa and may be addicted to Swedish Fish.
When I meet people who live out 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.
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 one on one hockey with a Red Wings’ player (and they believed me!).
As my hair was growing back after bone cancer treatment, my dad bought me an Army t-shirt so people would stop asking me if I was going through cancer treatment. (thank you to our military vets!)
I found my first gray hair at 43…in the middle of cold capping to save my hair from chemo so I couldn’t pull it (stress/pressure on the scalp could cause 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.
Want some tips, inspiration and smiles? I invite you to be part of Heather’s Hangout by subscribing to my blog (on the right hand side). You can also follow my adventures as a cancer survivor on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.