The Known and the Unknowns of the Journey
This column is a continuation of last issue’s feature story on Shay Moraga who at 39 years old was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. We are honored to have Shay sharing her journey with Desert Health® readers in an ongoing column. When we left Shay, she was close to finishing 20 weeks of chemo…
It’s been over a month since my last chemo. I will never forget that day. Eight of my girlfriends and my family would soon be by my side. I remember getting up super early (not really sleeping through the night) to reflect and pray. As I sat in my living room in silence, I watched the sunrise and drank my tea. With tears streaming down my face, I realized how far I had come and in that same moment I realized my own mortality. Even though today was my last day of chemo, it was the first day of unknowns all over again. Just like the day I found out I had cancer, I would not know what to expect next, not knowing if after 20 weeks of treatment the chemo did what it was supposed to do. You see, the one thing I knew for sure was that being in that chemo room each Thursday I felt safe. I was close to my doctor and nurses in case anything should happen. I was in a room with others like me who understood what I was going through. These simple things kept me feeling safe and brought me comfort through this ordeal. Today it would be hard for me to share that it was my last day since I knew I was leaving my Thursday chemo days behind. I realized I had grown dependent on my Thursdays, that room, and those people…seeing their smiles each week and looking forward to hearing their stories. The chemo room had become the only place where no one talked about cancer, yet we were all fighting it. It oddly had become a place of serenity.
As the last few drops of chemo went into my body, my emotions soared. The tears rolled down my face uncontrollably. I closed my eyes and thanked God for getting me to this point, then began to pray for peace on what was to come next. This was the moment I had been waiting for that seemed so long ago yet came so fast. I was done. No more drugs to take. No more needles. No more chemo.
I remembered all of the incredible support that helped get me to this very day. My first Shay’s Warriors workout with my friends at Pedal Spin Studio. A dinner with girlfriends the night before my first chemo to give encouragement and support. My desert yoga community embracing me with so much love. Billy, Mindy and Bliss Chakra Spa for their daily check-ins and weekly Tibetan bowl healing sessions. Janet Parks and my Palm Springs Power Yoga community dedicating a full month of healing to me. Jay Nixon and my Thrive Fit family for continuing to push me to be my best self. Father Lincoln and my Sacred Heart community, and for friends and family all over the world praying for the same thing, my healing.
The greatest “known” was that I would have never made it this far without keeping a strong mind and body. Nourishing my soul with prayer and my body with organic and clean foods. Working out through this process keeping my energy, faith and prayers strong when I had doubts.
But, what was to happen after today? Would all of this love and support come to an abrupt halt?
As the last needle was removed from my body and I started the process of packing my things up for the last time, I wondered how would my life be now? I still had such a long way to go. Would my friends and family still be by my side? Would we still have lunch at Sherman’s and dinner at Koutouki’s on Thursday nights in the future? What was life going to be like after chemo? I knew a few things for sure…my life had changed for the better. I knew I still needed to go through surgery. I knew I still needed a final MRI to tell me what was to yet happen. I knew I had incredible friends and a loving family through this whole journey. I also knew I had to stick to my faith and let go of any fears of not being able to control what was to happen next. I had to have faith in the unknown – that the chemo, the prayers, the positivity and all the love did its job for me.
As I walked out of the offices, I looked up and saw the beautiful sky. I thanked God for my life. I did it, and that was the only thing I knew for sure at this point. I finished the first marathon of this journey. I knew the MRI and then surgery would come next. What I didn’t know was that I was going to be tested once again…
Shay’s Story will be a continuing column in Desert Health®. To leave messages for Shay, please leave a comment. For more information on triple negative breast cancer, visit www.tnbcfoundation.org.