The path I had set out for my life was disrupted in 2015 when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 26. I was fortunate to have a relatively short treatment period but I was left reeling all the same once I was done with chemo. It didn’t feel right to pursue the exact same goals and dreams that I had once wanted, yet I didn’t have a clear sense of what the “new me” wanted either.
In June 2018, my oncologist recommended me for a spot on a True North Treks trip to the Wind River Range and I felt a little spark of curiosity. It wasn’t something I would normally have picked for myself, but the promise of meeting fellow survivors and challenging myself in a beautiful environment made me want to give it a shot anyway. The Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation supported my trip and made it possible for me to attend as the trip was just over a month away from when I first decided to go!
For one week I pushed myself physically, accomplishing more than what I thought I would be capable of as I hiked in the mountains with a heavy pack. Yoga in the mornings helped prepare us for each day and clear our minds. But more than the physical challenge, I had a chance to make deep connections in guided discussions each night with a group of women who understood me. I felt supported and loved and hope that I was able to support them, too.
In the last year since the trip I’ve taken better care of myself: slowing down, taking time off, spending more time connecting with friends and family, and even challenging myself in new ways— like running a 10k and taking a solo trip to a national park! I can trace the motivation behind these decisions and my commitment to them to my True North Treks trip. I hope that any young adult cancer survivor that is interested in an experience like TNT or a camp makes the brave decision to go for it and discover new things about themselves in the process.