20 Years Cancer Free

Twenty years ago today, I had my last chemotherapy session for a highly aggressive form of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and they told me I was cancer free!

Because it was so aggressive and rare, there was no standard treatment plan. They said that had I waited to go to the Dr., I would have been dead in 6 months.

We decided on an aggressive surgical plan, and my oncologist gave me the chemo cocktail he hoped would help, and we waited.

I lived with the threat that it could come back at any time in the brain, liver, bones, or lungs.

There were always markers I needed to hit.
First, it was five years, then it was ten, and at ten years, they moved it again, saying this cancer is still rare, people are still dying, they still have no idea how I got it, and although they’re learning about it, now I needed to get to 20 years to really be free.

Along the way, there have been more tumors and multiple surgeries, all with a cancer scare, all coming back clear.

Anytime I tell a doctor I’ve beat this type of cancer, they look at me like I’m a ghost. When they gave me Covid vaccines, the nurses cried. They couldn’t believe I was still alive.

My blessed life is not lost on me. I am forever grateful for every struggle, every pain, and every gift of another day.

I still can’t believe I have this beautiful family. I’ve had so many wild and crazy experiences, extreme lows, and unbelievable highs, but here I am!

I made it to 20 freaking years, baby!!

So today, this is my gift to you.

Share your joy every day!

Focus on the light in your life, not the darkness.
There will be struggles, but right behind them are blessings.
Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens.

If you’re scared, cry it out.
If you need someone to talk to, reach out.
If you’re lost, write it out.
If panic sets in, wait it out. It will pass.
You will feel like shit in the process, but I guarantee you it will pass, and then reach out.

Find somebody to talk to.
Find somebody who will listen.
Find somebody you trust.
You don’t have to do this life alone.

We have no idea how long we’re here, but we can be a light in someone’s darkness, create a beautiful life for ourselves, stretch ourselves beyond our wildest capabilities, become who we never thought we could be, and experience life in ways we never thought possible.

At the end of the day, life is what we make it.
Our experiences make us who we are.
Our courage and strength help us survive it.

Life is hard.
But we are stronger.

Thank you, Divine Spirit, for giving me this time with my family.
I am asking for at least 35 more!

I promise I will make good use of the time and the lessons!


Amberley Charlotte

20 Years Cancer Free!

I’ve always been fiercely independent.
I needed no man and believed I could do everything myself. When I met my husband, I made it clear I didn’t need him; I wanted him.
I didn’t need him to take care of me. I wanted him because I loved him.

Then we got married, and things changed. I had someone else to think about and someone to help carry the load. But cancer and multiple surgeries changed me. I had to rely on others, sometimes to do even the simplest of tasks. I hated it, and now with 37 surgeries under my belt, I’m not the girl I was all those years ago. I’ve had to learn to accept help and be grateful for it.

But with that change came a shift. I started realizing how valuable we are to one another. Whether it’s your best friend comforting you, a neighbor watching your dog, Instacart or Door Dashers shopping for food. We need one another, and we need community. 

This year I am 20 years cancer-free from Triple Negative Breast Cancer. A high-grade, hard to treat, aggressive form of breast cancer that left me a bit differently-abled. You would think I would be pouring champagne and running the chocolate fountain. But I’m really struggling. My mind is all over the place, and I have written this post about twelve times.

A few weeks ago, a precious child passed away after fighting cancer for six years. He was just thirteen years old. I didn’t know him, but I love someone who loved him, and because of her, I grew to love him too. I followed his story, and I cried for his parents, I worried about his little sister, and when he died, my heart sunk. This little one suffered hugely, and yet in the middle of what must have felt like hell, he spread love and joy to everyone around him. 

So I’ve decided I’m not celebrating being cancer-free this year because this wasn’t just my cancer. I’m not going to a restaurant to celebrate because I didn’t do it alone. My family fought this battle with me. My husband cringed when I screamed as he siphoned my drains. He cleaned my wounds, made me laugh, and cried with me. My children sat with me, loved on me, fed me, and helped run the family. My doctors fought to save my life. My nurses comforted me. My community and friends sat with me, brought food, and encouraged me. 

Yes, I busted my ass to keep my moods up and take care of my body, mind, and soul in the process of what felt like hell, and with four back-to-back surgeries in four weeks, eight rounds of chemo, and losing my breasts to cancer, I was exhausted, but I needed each and every one of those helpers.

This is not just about me. It’s about the team of people that supported me when I had cancer. It’s about the tears they shed, the time they took off work to help, and the sleepless nights they spent watching over me. It’s about a husband running a household with young children and still working a full-time job. It’s about kids scared their mother might die and crying into their pillows at night thinking she didn’t hear them, trying to be brave, so Mommy wouldn’t worry.

We need these people. We need our families. We need our communities. We are all in this together. 

I want to celebrate every cancer survivor.
I want to celebrate every family member, every friend, and every member of the community.
I want to celebrate the lives of those we lost.
I want to celebrate everyone in the medical community.

Life is fragile. Not just because of cancer. We’ve lost a lot of people to Covid. The situation in Ukraine is devastating. We are not promised tomorrow. Life is not a dress rehearsal. You do not get to do this again.

I celebrate all of you.
I love you, I thank you, I am honored to know you.
You’re all are in my heart and forever in my prayers.

Cheers to 20 years. Thank you for getting me here.
Rest in Peace, Colby. You’ve earned it. We may not have met in person, but my heart knew you. Say hello to baby Faith for me. 

Amberley Charlotte