I Own My Story: The Gift Cancer Gave To Me By Kristin S.

THE FIT LIFT’s I Own My Story category will feature real-life stories of vulnerability and strength - physical, emotional or mental. We all have our own stories. Many locked away and too raw to reveal and some ready to share and inspire. Having courage to share your story is therapeutic and beautiful. Our stories can give others hope, strength and inspiration.  If you would like to own your story, please email us.  

A dozen years ago, I met Kristin and her Aunt Karel on a volleyball court.  I always looked forward to Sundays. Volleyball is a game I love, but the group of gals I played with made it so much more.  Kristin always had an energetic, enthusiastic spirit and being on the court with her simply made me happy.  Her little brother and sister were so adorable, and they'd often tag along with her mom to sit on our bench and watch our games.  This family was so loving, supportive and closely knit.  We've kept in touch over the years and most recently, we have reconnected more frequently to support one another in our new 'business' adventures. 

Kristin has done impeccable work personally to get to where she is today.  This story of Kristin's journey and her mom's terminal illness is one that will make you a flood on the floor, but one that is overflowing with so much love and life. We have all been affected in some way by this terrible disease and knowing we have the choice to allow ourselves to remain present and attentive while we cope is a gift.  You will learn from this story.  This story will fill your heart.  

In honour of Mother's Day, my dear friend Kristin, her family, and most of all, her mother, we are so thankful to share this with you.  

~ I dedicate this post to my mother. The person who has loved me the longest. My biggest supporter, cheerleader, mentor, and inspiration. You are oh so loved.  - Kristin~

My name is Kristin. This is my story - I own it. 

My life was forever changed on November 4, 2013. See, that was the day that I found out my mother, age 52, had an incurable form of cancer called Multiple Myeloma.

I will never forget that day. It radiates, even today, a sense of indescribable pain. It started with a ringing phone. Consisted of words like ‘diagnosis’, ‘worse case scenario’, ‘chemo’, and ‘transplant’. It ended with tears; flooding, overwhelming tears. Life as I knew it – life as I expected it -- was forever changed. 

I immediately catapulted into a life of doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy treatments, and injections. I was busy gathering information, keeping meticulous notes, and familiarizing myself with the treatment plan. I was working to keep family and friends informed, being there for my brother and sister (who were 17 and 20 at the time), and trying to find a balance between being optimistic and being realistic. I had no time to be sad, grieve, or take a moment to sort out my emotional wellbeing. I was learning how to be part of Mom’s caregiving team, her confident, and the one who had it all together.

Almost one month to the day, following Mom’s diagnosis, I found out I was expecting our third child. I was elated, scared, and overwhelmed. This pregnancy was running adjacent to the biggest struggle my mother has ever, or will ever face and celebration, elation and joy didn’t seem to always fit.

As I look back now, I can see the beginning of what was a very fast-paced end for me emotionally. It was a Monday. I had just gotten my 20-week ultrasound and saw my baby for the first time. We discovered, at that appointment, that we were having our third boy. It was a moment that should have been full of bliss. It should have been a moment of overwhelming joy and celebration and in that office, a dimly lit, place of escape, it was. But we had to leave that office eventually, and the real world had much different plans. We left the ultrasound clinic, and headed straight to Mom’s house where she was waiting for me to pick her up and take her to an appointment at the Cancer Centre. With a disc of images of this beautiful little boy in hand, we shared our news with her. Her reaction was it could be given her circumstance. A slight rise in emotion, followed by a quick snap back to the reality of her disease. This was, after all, a big week for her. It was the week of her Hickline insertion, her stem cell harvest, and the prep for her stem cell transplant. There was little left in anyone’s mine – mine included – if I’m being honest, for talk of the gumdrops and roses that often is discussion around pregnancy and babies.

It was there, in her kitchen that I was for the first time ACUTELY aware of my state of mind. I was unhappy. Not “I had a little bit of a rough day” unhappy. I was, to the core of my being, unhappy. I had hit an emotional wall. Unsure of where I was going to get the energy for one more forward push. I had become someone I didn’t recognize. I had become someone I didn’t care to see when I looked in the mirror. Cancer had changed me. It had made me bitter and resentful. It had made me angry and short tempered. It had made me …. Ugly.

This was the {beautiful} beginning of the end. 

I didn’t see it at the time but this breakdown was actually a breakthrough. It was the first step in the journey of recreating myself. A journey I am still on today! ☺ See, I had an overwhelming desire to be better, happier and more content in my life. I knew that I was not destined for a life full of this much pain and discontent. I knew that there had to be a way out. I just didn’t know what it was.

As it turns out, an honest conversation with a friend over dinner about how I was feeling led to her suggesting I see a Life Coach. I will be forever that it did {thank you, Tracy!}! On April 14, 2014, the eve of my 32nd year, I began seeing a Life Coach and IT. CHANGED. MY. LIFE.

Our sessions were empowering, cathartic, and energizing. I would leave her office with a lighter and healthier spirit every time. My soul was at peace and my mind was learning how to engage with life in a meaningful way. I was a better mother, a more attentive wife, and a happier woman. It was not easy. In fact, it was very hard. I had to do some very challenging work and challenge myself to push through very painful things. All I can say is that it was so worth it! I was slowly, with each new tool I acquired, becoming a better version of myself. Kristin 2.0.

See, I had gotten off track. I had allowed myself to get caught up in the everyday struggles, to be bogged down by the mundane, and to become a victim in my own life. It took Cancer to wake me up. It took Cancer to help me see that our time here is finite and never promised.

It took Cancer to help me see that it is my responsibility – no one else’s – to make my life the way I want it to be.


I immediately knew that I wanted to share what I had learned with others! I felt a calling to help those who, like me, may be floundering in the neutral zone of their lives, unsure of how to make the next step toward happiness and contentment.

In May of 2013 I started a Facebook page {Embrace The Evolution: Inspired Living with Kristin} where I share inspirational quotes, perspective shifting techniques/tools, and focus on the practice of gratitude. This past January, I expanded the Embrace the Evolution ‘brand’ by launching a website/blog that I am proud of called Embrace the Evolution. However, my soul was not yet content. Knowing that I wanted to continue the ripples of inspiration, on March 1, 2015 I began training to become a Life Coach! YAY!!

My life has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. There has been a great deal of devastation, but there have also been moments of immense joy and heart filling gratitude. I believe everything in life is a choice. I may not have been able to choose whether or not my Mom got Cancer but I can choose how to respond to it. Cancer can destroy me or Cancer can gift me.

That’s my choice.

I will lose a lot of things to Cancer – that is inevitable. I will lose my mother. I will lose memories and time with her. Those things will be hard to bear. But what I will not lose is today. I will not give Cancer one extra minute of my happiness. I will not allow it to take moments spent with my children in joy. I will not allow it to take laughter from my home. I will not allow it to consume my soul and make me bitter.

I will, instead, allow Cancer to gift me. To remind me that moments are fleeting. To help me stay present and attentive to that and those which matter most. To be my constant reminder that I am here for a reason and that it is my responsibility to work every day to create ripples in this world that will bring about a better tomorrow for those around me.

I own my story. I choose to use it to make me better.

In love, Kristin

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly inspirational.