Most importantly, I'm a daughter, sister, aunt and dependable friend to many. I practice law as a vocation and yoga as an avocation. I'm deeply committed to helping people, as a lawyer and as a yoga instructor. I'm a two-time cancer survivor, beating breast cancer diagnosed in October 2005 and uterine cancer diagnosed in August 2010. I'm just another ordinary person living an ordinary life, one day at a time.
We all know that fairy tale -- the one where the girl kisses the frog and he turns into a handsome prince and they ride off together happily into the sunset to live forever.
In fact, right now you may be recalling a happy childhood memory where you sat around with your girlfriends giggling about this very thing. I was no different.
While I wasn't looking forward to kissing a frog, I knew that when I got older I would meet someone I least suspected to sweep me off my feet, who would in fact be my "prince!"
Well, I wasn't a little girl when I met my prince. I was fully grown and so was he.
He was, I believed, perfect for me. He was age appropriate, smart, tall, trim, fit, athletic and totally charming with mesmerizing blue eyes and a beautiful, picture-perfect, white toothed smile.
We fell madly in love. Well, I did. I think he did also, at least for a while.
My prince and I spent two mostly very happy years hanging out together daily doing yoga and cross-fit, sharing meals and traveling the world.
My body changed
Then, over a short period of time, I started noticing some problematic things going on with me and my body.
I had gained an unexplainable five pounds on my usually fit, small frame. I had to go to the bathroom all the time -- almost every hour, regardless of how much I drank, even through the night. I was tired all the time, not my usual completely-full-of-energy self.
My prince mostly pooh-poohed these things when I complained, charging instead that I needed to gain a little weight anyway and I was probably tired from all the exercise I did.
Neither of us was particularly alarmed by these symptoms until the additional one came along -- pelvic pain (and blockage from what I would later learn was a 2.5-pound tumor) that brought our sexual intimacy to a screeching halt.
Unfortunately, not fully aware of what was happening to me and wrongly assuming my various symptoms were menopause- related, I did what a lot of women do. I ignored them. My prince and I grew apart -- an almost unnoticeable little bit at a time.
Winning my prince back
In any event, we continued to spend time together, but not so much intimate time. He had a litany of plausible excuses that I believed. I was sure if I could get our intimacy issues worked out, things would go back to the way they had been before all the trouble started with my body. I wanted my prince charming back.
I scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist, since it was time for my annual exam anyway. And then I moved it up by three weeks when I really started to worry about the growing distance between my prince and me.
My prince and I went to yoga together the morning of my doctor's appointment and I went to the doctor alone in the afternoon.
I never saw my prince again to tell him about my diagnosis of uterine cancer.
As you probably have figured out, he had hopped to another lily pad with another woman that very same day, leaving me alone to deal with my cancer and 10 months of treatment.
I found out from my doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center that it's not as unusual as you might think for partners to disappear when their loved ones receive a cancer diagnosis or even start exhibiting serious symptoms. Some princes (and princesses) simply can't cope.
No longer a princess
I'm so grateful to my prince, however. I was madly in love with him. I only moved up my appointment to see my doctor to try to "win back" his affection.
Had my prince actually been the loving, fully attentive prince of my childhood dreams, I might not really have ever seen that doctor in time.
Today, although I'm no longer a princess in love with her prince, I'm a healthy uterine cancer survivor and I feel like a queen.