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How my Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis Prepared me for a Pandemic and a Natural Disaster

If you read my previous blog I briefly talked about my cancer diagnosis. That was the scariest and most life changing situation I’ve ever faced. It was hard to learn how to ask for help, say no, set boundaries, and the biggest lesson was to adapt. 

In March 2020, Covid-19 hit the salon industry incredibly hard. I watched my nail peers who were once so supportive, fighting each other for customers to pay the bills and keep the lights on. Like you, I was very worried about how my business was going to survive. Instead of worrying constantly, I made the decision that during shutdown I was going to focus on the things I could control. I took breaks from social media, I focused on rebranding my nail business and I spent more time binge watching shows than I’d like to admit. 🤣 

Fire burning over the hill from my barn

Everyday I thought to myself, if I can survive cancer, I can survive this. I worked really hard to find little victories to make the situation sting less. I finally was able to reopen in the beginning of June. I can’t tell you how happy I was to be working again! 

My salon settled into a new comfortable (COVID-19 friendly) routine. That’s when the wildfires struck! On Labor Day, Portland, OR, was hit with an epic windstorm. That storm started several big fires in my area. While my house was in a safe zone, the barn I board my horse at was in the path of two fires. There was one night I rushed out to the barn at 11:00 PM because the closest fire was burning uncontrollably. We had to figure out how to safely evacuate 44 horses. Luckily, the wind shifted and the firefighters were able to contain the fire. Ultimately a few days later I ended up having to evacuate my horse, Buddy and his best friend Bubba to my friend’s property about 30 miles away. Because of the uncertain circumstances, I rescheduled my clients for that week. Early the next week we were out of fire danger, but Portland’s air quality was ranked worst in the world for several days! My friends don’t have horse experience so I stayed with the horses to make sure they were getting proper care and didn’t have any health issues due to the change in environment. Once again, I had to move clients and spent eight days away from home.   

Buddy (left) Bubba (right)

My cancer diagnosis helped me to put the important things in perspective, especially how to adapt to situations I cannot control. It also taught me that having a positive attitude will always make hard situations easier. I never thought I’d say these words about having cancer, but in this case, my cancer diagnosis really had a silver lining.

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