In creating the Earth Angels page, I wanted to shed light on the countless stories of women who have beaten the odds by defeating cancer and other health challenges. I have found through my own personal experiences, that it’s more common to hear the stories that didn’t have positive outcomes, when in actuality, there are countless stories with amazing outcomes, or there are people such as myself who are thriving while fighting a disease such as cancer. Most people don’t know how to respond when they hear of unfortunate circumstances and the only way they can identify is by sharing a reaction such as, “I’m so sorry, my Aunt passed from breast cancer last year.” (This is one of the numerous reactions I have gotten). While their loss is unfortunate and pierces my heart, it’s the absolute last thing someone wants to hear when striving to overcome. You need and want to feel hopeful and uplifted which was my intent in creating this page… I hope to fill your spirit with hope and encouragement as these beautiful Earth Angels share their powerful journeys of triumph.
Meet our first ever, beautiful August Earth Angel, Bianca, a young woman who exemplifies strength, courage and grace. She defied all odds by overcoming her circumstances and is now open to sharing her story in hopes of inspiring other young women. It’s not easy to be open and vulnerable with such personal information, especially on a public platform, but as soon as I reached out to Bianca, she was on board! I love this girl, not only because she is she my sister-friend, but because she is such a source of inspiration for me. She is a living testimony, that through faith, all things are possible. May her story inspire you all as it has inspired me. I asked Bianca to share her story in her own words….
“The day after I graduated high school I was diagnosed with cancer.
June 11th 2009, I remember waking up in a panic because I felt another “episode” coming on. I called my mom and she took me to the hospital around 8:30. After an X-ray, blood tests, a CAT scan and a PET scan – the doctor walked into the room around 1:00:
“You have a form of Hodgkins Lymphoma.”
I don’t know what that means, what’s Hodgkins Lymphoma?
“You have a form of cancer “
I have a “form” of cancer? Or, I have cancer?
“You have cancer…Seattle Children’s Hospital is expecting you tomorrow at 7:00 AM”
I just sat there. I didn’t understand – I wasn’t sure how to feel-or, if I even felt anything. My mom cried; she sat on my left side and cried her heart out. She called my dad and told him the news, and when he asked to speak to me, he said, “Mija, we are going to get through this together. I love you, and I am going to pray for you. Everything is going to be okay, are you okay?” Thank you papi, I’m okay. I will see you guys tomorrow. I love you.
The next day, we drove up to Seattle, and for the rest of June, I was a lab rat. Test after test, surgeries, biopsies, CAT scans, PET scans, blood tests, doctors – nurses, treatment plans… everything. I remember this one female doctor who asked me if I believed in God…she asked me if I knew who He was and that I should pray to Him. I thanked her and walked out feeling uncertain about God.
July 4th 2009 I had my first chemotherapy round. I was so wrapped in “staying strong” I ignored my feelings. I told my parents that no one could stay the night with me at the hospital. I don’t have any children of my own, but what parent would want to see their sick child lying in a bed so helpless? My dad couldn’t fix me. My mom couldn’t save me. I had to stay strong and I couldn’t have done that while they watched me suffer. My body shook – a lot. I felt like someone was pulling the insides of my body apart. I felt my bones weaken and there were moments I would wake up covered in sweat. My body was essentially being poisoned. I was killing poison with poison and physically, I felt defeated.
I started to lose my hair around the 3rd week of July. I was in the shower and I remember putting shampoo on and all I saw were chunks of hair in my hand. I panicked! My chest tightened, my breaths became shorter and I remember talking to myself; it’s okay Bianca, you’re going to be okay – calm down, take a deep breath and turn the water off. That same day, my dad shaved my head and a part of me died inside. This was my life now…
This disease, it doesn’t discriminate; it has no mercy and what it did to me at 18 years old ruined me. Every round of chemo, all the radiation therapy – every biopsy – it took a piece of me with it. I was told when I could and could not have visitors, how to lay post surgeries, what to eat, when to use the restroom, when to walk and when to rest. This disease controlled every part of my life and I lost myself in it. Cancer stole my identity – it robbed me of my youth. I was supposed to go to college; I was supposed to embrace graduating high school with honors and academic scholarships. I was supposed to celebrate life and the accomplishments I had made – but that didn’t happen. Cancer took that from me and I couldn’t understand the reason for it. I hated my circumstance – I hated God and I unknowingly blamed Him. Am I THAT bad of a person God? What did I do to deserve this? Why are you punishing me? I felt nothing – yet, I felt everything.
Once I was considered “Cancer Free” I had no idea how to react. I wanted to be happy, but I wasn’t. I wanted to celebrate, but I didn’t know how. So now what? Do I go back to my old life? Who am I? What do I like? I didn’t know. So, I lived my life as if it never happened, yet – I identified myself as “Bianca, the cancer patient.” My only goal in life was to make up for the time I lost and all I ended up doing was becoming a burden to others. I was angry…I was depressed.
May 15th 2010, I woke up to a phone call from my mom singing me Happy Birthday. Once we hung up, I started crying. I cried hysterically and I remember running outside and just hitting my uncle’s chest while he tried to calm me down. All I kept asking was WHY! WHY ME! WHAT DID I DO – ITS NOT FAIR, ITS JUST NOT FAIR. My uncle sat me down on the steps and just hugged me until I calmed down – that was the first time I ever cried. That was the first time I actually felt something real. I was vulnerable to all of my pain. All of a sudden, I had this urge to talk to God. Okay God. I give up. I don’t know what you want from me, but I can’t do this anymore. I can’t fight this alone. What do you want from me? Then, I fell asleep.
It wasn’t until that day my life started to change. I started meeting people; but not just random people – I met Godly people. Now, fast forward five years later, as of a couple of months ago, June 11th 2015 – I am officially a Cancer Survivor! The best part of it all is that, I know God. I have this deep-rooted desire to live the life He has for me. I am a saved woman; I am God strong and I rely on my faith to keep me going. I will admit, I have a lot of healing to do – however, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When I hit this day – I celebrated! I celebrated life and how far I have come. I am NOT a prisoner of this disease – I AM a survivor. Never once, did God leave my side, and regardless of how I may have felt during the last five years, I trust it was God’s process. I may never know why, but that is the beauty of faith. To trust and rely on the unseen – and no matter how much I lost during that process, what I have gained from it has been nothing short of a blessing. Cancer – it will forever be a part of who I am, but it is not my identity.
I am a warrior. I am Gods warrior.
I am just Bianca.”
Questions for our Earth Angel
1. What is love?
Bianca: My interpretation of love is to feel vulnerable. Love, is pure. Love allows me to live in this unexplainable bliss. Love opens up my heart to stillness, and an essence of free-spirited ecstasy. Love, I can’t explain Love. It’s merely a feeling.
2. Who or what inspires you?
Bianca: I am inspired by creativity. There are no confinements with it – and I mainly see it in people. There is so much creativity in how we are built; our choices in wardrobe, word choice, posture. We are products of our own beliefs. That is creative. We essentially are living the life we created in our minds – we are just a result of those introspections.
3. What is your favorite quote, verse or saying?
Bianca: My favorite verse in the Bible is Psalm 23.
4. What is your favorite song?
Bianca: I don’t have a favorite song ….but I do love the song Oceans will Part by Hillsong.
5. What is your favorite pass time or hobby that is most healing to you?
Bianca: Exercise and writing is most healing to me. I believe words are powerful, and when I write, my mind has no limitations. Therefore, I am as powerful as I want to be. Exercise is my sanity. My mind wanders, and no matter how many people are around me, my sole focus is becoming a stronger individual than the day before.
6. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Bianca: I see myself serving others by sharing my testimony and story. I will be working for myself, I will be an author and a traveler. I will change lives by fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. I don’t know what that will consist of…But I know whatever I do – will be to glorify God. That is all I seek.
7. What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to another individual experiencing a health challenge?
Bianca: It’s okay not to be okay. I learned this from my experience with cancer. I was so set on being strong and in control of my feelings – I was only torturing myself. I had to accept my weaknesses. That is when God started to work on me. Once I realized I didn’t need all of the answers. It was okay not to be okay because God took care of me at my most vulnerable moment.