Three years ago, my entire world changed…

I made my way to Miami for a second opinion on a leg injury from my car accident 5 months prior. At this point I was unable to walk, but was FULLY expecting my diagnosis to be a torn meniscus and a Baker’s cyst. I told myself “all I need is surgery and then this will be behind me”.

I will never forget the shock and emotion I felt on 11/11/15. My MRI scan showed something was very wrong. That big white blob? Ya, in a “normal” leg, it’s not supposed to be there. That large glowing mass was all tumor. Active Aggressive Fibromatosis of the left popliteal fossa. Complete with strangled artery, that if not treated NOW, could end in amputation. 
The LAST possibility in my mind was cancer. “I need a biopsy, why?”, “I’m sorry, I have what?”, “What does aggressive mean?”, “I need 24 weekly rounds of CHEMOTHERAPY?” — I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong person, car accidents don’t cause cancer!

After two rounds of chemotherapy and relearning to walk through physical therapy, I walked into my orthopedic surgeon’s office last month for the determination on whether or not I would continue with chemo, or be done for now. All I heard was “decreased vascularity”, “increased collagen”, ”the tumor is so dense it’s absorbing all the waves”. These comments were soon followed by cheers and thumbs-up from all 8 doctors and nurses. My tumor responded well to the treatment, and it was his recommendation to stop chemo.

Cancer doesn’t take a break. It’s been on my mind every day for three years. It’s an everyday choice to fight. I’ve tried my best to not let cancer define me, but instead motivate me to live a full and loving life, since I now understand I only get one.

Here’s to the end of a chapter, and the beginning of a NEW one! The world is my oyster.

GRYT is choosing to find JOY even after being diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer that will probably require multiple chemo treatments throughout your life.

GRYT is choosing to fight the physical and mental battle of cancer and chemo EVERY DAY by not giving up at work, at the gym, in relationship, or in adventuring.

GRYT is choosing to believe cancer and chemo is a beautiful part of my story that deserves to be shared.

GRYT is choosing to share my @chemo_diaries with the world in an effort to raise awareness about the effects of chemo.”

Instagram: @chemo_diaries 
Facebook: @ashleyschemodiaries

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