“Always do what you are afraid to do.” – George Bernard Shaw

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I’ve thought about it several times.  It’s been hard to find a few minutes to sit down and write.  Life has just been so busy.

First I wanted to say that I have enjoyed being 38 so far.  It’s not as bad as I thought.  I’ve still been carded and the bartender in the airport last week commented that I’ve been in the Seattle area for half my life – even though I told him I’ve been up here almost 10 years – yep 38-10 = half my life. At least he made me smile.   I know in my last post I kinda complained about getting older but I’ve done a lot of thinking about it and 38 is great!  I’m very happy to be alive and healthy and I look forward to celebrating a lot more birthdays.

Back in December,   I was encouraged by a very good friend to participate in the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) conference in DC.  I had applied for the Scientist <-> Survivor program (SSP) and was accepted.  This program allowed me to travel and attend the conference in April in return for creating a poster, participating in a group project, and completing a final project.  I’ve said ‘yes’ to so many things after my cancer diagnosis (I felt before cancer I said ‘no’ too often) without really understanding what I was getting myself into.  Sometimes it’s wasn’t great and other times it’s been absolutely incredible!  This was one of those incredible times!

The conference was attended by 20,000 researchers and oncologist from around the country.  I’ll admit it was over my head a lot of the time but I learned so much more than I ever could have imagined.  The opportunity to learn and meet such amazing and inspiring people was endless.  Those who were part of the SSP made me feel like I gained some life long friends.   My poster session came together despite my procrastination and the group project was such a great experience – even though it was the one thing I was dreading.  Our topic we were given was about whole genome sequencing and precision medicine – totally outside my comfort zone but now I feel more knowledgeable on the topic and can point you to some of the interesting facts we discovered.  I encourage others to look into the SSP at AACR – seriously a great experience. For my final project, I was asked by Susan G Komen to contribute to their blog about my experience – this was such a great honor.  Here’s a link to the blog…http://blog.komen.org/?p=2968

Bottom line, the SSP at AACR opened my eyes to some new opportunities to advocate for cancer research and patient advocacy.  I’ve been jazzed ever since getting back from the conference.

But that’s not all I’m jazzed about.  A few years ago, I told myself that if I could wear my running shoes, yoga pants, and a sports bra to work I would be ecstatic.  I believe if you ask the universe for something, the universe will respond.  It doesn’t always respond in the time you want but it will respond.   After 9+ years of working with the same company, I took another life leap.  I’ve accepted a Project Manager position at Brooks Running Company.  I won’t exactly be wearing yoga pants and sports bra to work but running shoes definitely are a plus.  I’ll admit I’m terrified but I’m excited too.  A new beginning, a new adventure.

Since cancer, I tell myself all the time that I won’t be as scared as I was when I was diagnosed.  I’m trying to take more risks and really live life to the fullest.

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