FB- Jamie Diianni, instagram @imjld, Linkedin Jamie (Nastasee) Diianni, twitter @DiianniJamie
Twist on Cancer: I was not prepared for how therapeutic this process would be and just how much healing my soul still needs! My artist (Bryan) really listened to my story. It was nice having someone listen to more than just my words. I truly feel he listened to my emotions and to who I was as a person, not just my cancer story. I shared details that I may not have necessarily shared with a stranger, but through this process we were not strangers anymore. I believe we have become friends as our process was more than talking about my cancer. It was about who I was and how he interpreted my experiences into a piece of art with a meaning and full of emotion. I feel he captured all that I offered. If I can make one suggestion for anyone who has the privilege to have this experience, is to be open and honest on how you feel. I was a bit uncomfortable at first, but honestly, the outcome was more amazing than I imagined.
I am not just another cancer story, nor is anyone else who has experienced cancer, and was in no means looking to be on a journey. My course was a bit more like a roller coaster. Being diagnosed on a routine screening, with no signs of illness, was devastating to me. I felt blindsided. I was 41, a mother of 4 young children with a growing career and active in my community. I went into the process of treatment fighting, cheering with my cheerleaders, but I came out feeling very broken and alone. My loneliness was not understood. I had support and people around me, but I felt like no one understood why I felt the way I did. Ironically, I survived by the support of others, but at the time it felt very superficial, but necessary. I was grateful for my treatment and care, and the love and support of others, but in the end I felt I lost my identity. I felt muted, no longer bright. I longed to feel the way I did before being diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to get back to being me. 5 years out and I am rediscovering who I am, the light is brighter, my gratitude has grown and matured for all that I did receive and endure, however there is still work to do. I am a survivor and one of my favorite quotes that I have reflected on during this whole process is; Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception (C. Sagan). We should all strive to be the exception as there are no rules with cancer. I am learning to make my own rules to live by!