Finding peace after my terminal cancer diagnosis

Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer or told your disease is terminal, there’s always a place for hope. I truly believe I wouldn’t have made it this far if that wasn’t true. In 2001, I was diagnosed with a very rare extraskeletal osteosarcoma that had spread to my left kidney. Serious odds were stacked against me, but I pulled through. Unfortunately, sarcoma turned out to be just the beginning of my care at MD Anderson; I’ve since been treated for major side effects, melanoma, and now, stage IV colorectal cancer. At the end of 2015, I learned that my body wasn’t responding to the treatment, and it was time to focus on improving the quality of my life instead of trying to prolong it. Making that shift seemed like an impossible task, especially after all that I’d already overcome. Thankfully, I didn’t have to figure it out alone. Dr. Ali Haider, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Diana Guzman Gutierrez and the rest of palliative care team at MD Anderson’s Supportive Care Center have been by my side, helping me cope with the emotional and physical pain that accompanies this life-altering disease. Accepting my terminal cancer diagnosis At first, I didn’t think I could ever achieve peace or happiness. I was so afraid of dying that it had consumed my psyche and blinded me from seeing anything else in my life. I also didn’t want to break the news to my family, whom, up until that point, I’d protected from the details of my diagnosis. During counseling, we had many conversations about living with a terminal diagnosis and finding joy in...