This year marks a pretty big milestone in my life. This year, I am five years cancer-free. That means it’s the year that by textbook standards, I can officially call myself a cancer survivor. Pretty big, right? Even after five years, the whole experience still seems a little surreal.
I was 21 when I was diagnosed with lymphoma, and my world as I knew it was turned upside down. I was a young, active girl in my third year of university—how could I have cancer? I don’t think anyone ever expects to hear those words. It isn’t exactly something that you can prepare yourself for, and it hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s hard, it’s scary, and it's completely life-changing.
When I was first diagnosed, I tried to maintain some form of normalcy as I was thrown into the world of a cancer patient. But doctor's appointments and chemotherapy sessions quickly became my new normal. After a few months of treatments, I had lost all my hair, and my body had become weak and fragile. My skin was pale, and my arms were covered in bruises from IV needles.
I have always prided myself on being a positive person—a glass half full, "look on the bright side" kind of girl. But at this particular point in my life, when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself. I tried but it was so hard to feel beautiful. My body felt completely foreign to me and this was by far the most difficult, frustrating, helpless feeling that I have ever experienced.
Then I started taking yoga, and it changed everything. I had never taken it before, but I started learning valuable lessons immediately after my first class. I've listed my favorites below: