‘I feel hideous and weak. I want it to end.’ Chemo was killing me.’: Stage 3 breast cancer survivor encourages others during pandemic, ‘You can find beauty, laughter, and joy’

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“It wasn’t Stage Three, Triple-Negative Breast Cancer that was killing me. It was the cure. This chemotherapy ‘poison’ had taken it all: my life, my energy, my ability to be a mom or work, my lashes, my hair, even my fingernails, and toenails.

I felt hideous, miserable, weak, and I wanted it to end.

Even with a loving husband and two beautiful daughters, I didn’t want to fight a moment longer.

Courtesy of Dawn Barton
Courtesy of Dawn Barton

That’s what I was feeling the day this photo was taken in the hospital. And today, every feeling is still etched into my mind. It’s the day I had to decide TO LIVE LIFE.

Courtesy of Dawn Barton

That was eight years ago, and this memory is tiptoeing through my mind as I sit quarantined with my family during this whirlwind of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In her face, I see fear. Fear there would never, could never, be joy or happiness in my life again.

Courtesy of Dawn Barton

But friend, IT WAS A GIFT. I don’t know how else to say it. Cancer was a strange, unexpected gift which continues to bless me more with each year.

I never once imagined my biggest life lessons would come while being bald and sick as my breast was slowly consumed by cancer. And yet, that circumstance is exactly how a lot of wisdom came my way.

Courtesy of Dawn Barton

I got hard, intense lessons about life while I was in a lot of pain, and so will be the same for this wild season of our lives. There will be life before the pandemic, and after the pandemic, and I believe the after will just be sweeter.

This time of quarantine and sickness will be the catalyst for some of the greatest joys and blessings the world has ever seen.

We will love and appreciate what we have so much more. We will hug a little harder, smile bigger, and make more eye contact with people we pass. We’ll shake hands with more passion and joy in the introduction of a new friend than ever before.

Courtesy of Dawn Barton

We will care more, go slower, love harder, give more freely, and I hope, hoard less toilet paper.

This pandemic and cancer are horrible. Don’t think for a moment I don’t know it. It can ravage your body, it can knock you to the ground in seconds, it can take your life.

But here’s what I want you to know: in spite of Covid-19’s and cancer’s vile destruction, you can also find beauty, laughter, and joy when you look for them. It will always be there.”

Courtesy of Dawn Barton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Dawn Barton. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read about amazing acts of kindness during the coronavirus pandemic:

‘A state trooper pulled me over. As I sputtered to apologize and waited for a ticket, he reached in to hand me five N95 masks. I burst into tears.’: Health care worker thanks state trooper for act of kindness, ‘We are going to be okay’

‘She’s cancelled the baby shower. She stands alone, quarantined, for her first prenatal appointment. There will be no visitors—at the hospital or at home.’: Woman pregnant during pandemic says ‘I will choose to be fearless’

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