A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 16

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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How one woman turned a less than one percent chance of survival into a beautiful new beginning. SINSPIRAtION. MuRVIVAL. IRAcLE. By Alyssa Phillips I have to be honest, I really just didn't see it coming. You never think it's going to be you anyway, right? You never think that the impossible things of life, the ones that only happen to "other" people, can happen to you— that is, until suddenly it does. I've now had the "impossible" arrive on my doorstep—twice. The first time it arrived the day my younger sister Lauren died suddenly from bacterial meningitis while we were in college together. Healthy and vibrant one day, then gone the next, her absence rocked me to my very core, literally bringing me to my knees. The aftershocks of the void she left behind echoed through the years. But happiness and joy eventually returned, slowly seeping back into the hollow places and time marched on, as it tends to. I chose to move forward with it, taking her with me by stitching her sweet presence into the very fabric of my being so she would be with me wherever I went. I graduated from college, finished my Physician Assistant training, landed my first job and got married. Life was back on track. Things were good—really, really good and I chose to be better for what I'd been through. But then the unthinkable happened again. Just over a decade after my younger sister's death, I was suddenly facing the "impossible" again as I was forced to confront my own mortality. In May of 2008, just weeks after running my best time in a half-marathon, I was told I was in Stage IV of one of the rarest and most aggressive types of cancer known and given a less than one percent chance of survival. I was 31 years old and had never felt better. What came next arrived in a blur of bad news, each test result and recommendation worse than the last, compounding the horribleness of it all. "Less than thirty docu - mented cases…" "metastatic disease…" "poor prognosis…" "few survivors, if any..." "emergency radical hysterectomy..." "never going to be able to have any children of your own…" "high dose chemo…" "two back-to-back bone marrow transplants…" "nine months of mandatory house isolation…" "then hope for the best..." "we just don't know…" "we just don't know…" "we just don't know…" 92 A Distinctive style . com

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