Heathly Life After Cancer

My name is Miri Torres and as you probably already guessed, I am a cancer survivor. Even though this experience was extremely difficult and I would not wish it on anyone, it helped shape who I am and I would not change anything about it even if I could. It made me appreciate life and it inspired me to take charge and try to be the best version of myself.

I wanted to start this blog so I can share with you my journey from being a teenager who has suddenly become very sick to someone running her own business and trying to help as much as I can people in situations similar to what mine was. I also wanted to create a place where one can find and share ideas and tips on healthy living and lifestyle. I really hope you enjoy this blog and find it helpful.

Well, here’s the sad and unexpected beginning of my story with a happy ending….

I was born in Israel in ’84 and had a happy and healthy childhood until I was about 17. Right about the time my friends and schoolmates were getting ready for the prom, I started experiencing pain, itching, and nightly sweats. As if this wasn’t anxiety-inducing enough for a young woman, lumps started appearing on my body…. After 3 months and dozens of doctors’ visits, I eventually underwent a biopsy. It tested negative for cancer, which was great news, except that a few days before my prom I woke up and could not feel my legs. I was rushed to the ER where they took a blood test and reexamined the biopsy sample I had given earlier. Sure enough, it tested positive for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The cancer had spread aggressively and by this time it was stage IV (highest stage of development) and had already spread to my lungs and legs and was threatening my bone marrow. I was completely unprepared for this diagnosis and what it meant – in fact I asked my doctor when could I go home and finish studying for my school exams.

Next came the real fun times – dozens of blood tests, MRIs, repeated chemotherapy treatments and, oh my ….. don’t even get me started on the pain.  All these treatments practically destroyed my immune system. I suffered from pain in my bones, developed fungus in my throat, could not eat, drink or walk. Well… you can imagine that a 17 year old girl would be scared and intimidated by all these symptoms. Myself, however, not at all – all I thought about was finishing school and going to the army. So I was brave, didn’t cry and even joked about it. To me, it all felt like I had the flu and that I was going to be just fine in a few weeks. Then, when one day I woke up and found most of my hair on the pillow and looked like a troll, it really hit me. Was I going to die? Would I even celebrate my next birthday? At this point I realized I had to put up a fight and had to win no matter what. I felt that I had so much to see and to explore in this life, that I needed to beat this damn disease. This is when I understood that my life was about to change and never be the same regardless of whether I made it or not…

So I put on my fighting gloves and for the next 7 months all I cared about was surviving and recovering. It was a close fight and I hated and cursed my enemy every morning, staring fear in its eyes and crying a lot. Not only I, but also all the people around me struggled ….Eventually I made it – just in time for my 18th birthday I received my latest test result showing no enlarged Lymph nodes, lungs were clear, and blood tests came back negative. That was it! I got the gift of my life back and I felt only the sky was the limit.

Little did I know that I was substituting one struggle for another …. After 7 months of being in an environment with people in a similar condition to mine with a sole focus of becoming healthy, I felt I was re-joining a world I felt I did no longer belong to. I weighed 200 lbs and had scars all over my body. In some ways, this was an even harder fight…

Here’s a picture of me from the beginning of that struggle. Come read on next time and I’ll tell you what happened next.