You Have Cancer They Said: A Cancer Survivor's Story

by Alyssa Sarmiento
You Have Cancer They Said: A Cancer Survivor's Story

Every person with cancer looks forward to the day they beat it. Natasha, a Lincoln alum, shared her journey in a now cancer-free life. The journey started with a childhood filled with creativity, a little kid eager to learn EVERYTHING. She took step  classes, dance, poetry, as well as African dance. You name it, she did it. From childhood up to her formative years as a teenager, Natasha was one who was in touch with her creative side. Leading up to college she did not slow down, as someone exposed to a lot of media as a kid, college, at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania was where she learned to fortify her own philosophies. We pick up bits and pieces of others we encountered in our life, and sometimes you lose yourself in that process. Natasha explored who she is in college, found what area of interest she likes,  delving into the human psyche. That was also the place she made lasting connections with people she still calls her sisters and brothers from another mother. 


I guess some habits never die! Natasha tried entering her first pageant. Lo and behold, she won Alpha Phi Alpha’s Ms. Black and Gold in 2008. Is there something this woman can’t do? The pageant Miss Black and Gold has been a longstanding tradition of the Fraternity. It is to highlight and foster the inextricable connection between success and etiquette amongst young women.

 


 

Life had its own way of slowing her down when she discovered she had breast cancer. It’s not something you want to hear from anyone you know, to one day tell you, “I have cancer”. Natasha learned how to slow down, enjoy the little things, took one day at a time and enjoyed watching her chest rise and fall and just breathe. 


Supported by her loving husband that she met at the Annual Nigerian Reunion Even in 2009. That month it was held in NYC, her husband was the brother of an acquaintance and the rest is history. It was like fate or destiny! 


Then it might have been destiny for Natasha to help inspire more women undergoing similar things to what she experienced. A solid foundation for women to lean into, to know the point of view of a woman who was hurting throughout her journey. “You have cancer, they said” came to fruition because Natasha kept her journal entry from the day of the diagnosis to the day she beat cancer! Life has already sugarcoated a lot of things thinking that cancer patients are fragile and should be showered with careful love. But the journey of a cancer patient is hard, gritty, and not pleasant. Natasha told it how it is, her book is literally a glimpse into Natasha’s own thoughts, down to the raw and unpleasant details of a woman navigating through life. Imagine living your life and one day you get told, you have cancer.. Her journey was not only enlightening on her part but on her family’s part as well. It dawned on them that it could have been anyone from their family that had cancer. It made each day filled with more love and appreciation for each other.

“Happiness and health do not equate to a life free of difficulty”

as Natasha would say.

Having beaten cancer, Natasha did not go back to the hustle lifestyle. She is still taking life one step at a time. A mother to the wonderful sunshine of a son “sonshine” as she calls him, Natasha has been pouring her heart and everything into her son’s existence. Natasha also opened her own practice, this lady still has a lot of love to give to others. If she’s not with her son Natasha is most likely meeting with clients and running her business because she opened her own outpatient private practice, I-Thrive Therapy and Wellness LLC. Now this may sound like a lot, right? But wait, there’s more! Natasha tapped back into her creative side and is now dabbling in poetry, doing photography or videography, content creation, and connecting with individuals affected by breast cancer. Research also shows how hobby participation improved the quality of life for cancer patients. Involving yourself with a hobby even without cancer already has its benefits, but for cancer patients and cancer survivors it serves as an outlet.

Do you believe in life after death? A question often asked to people in general. According to the National Cancer Institute, getting diagnosed with cancer gives a wave of doubt about their beliefs and religious values. It is a time people get into much spiritual distress. Natasha even said herself that she was raised as a religious person. Upon diagnosis, she was desperate for support, and she was running more religious, going back to what she was taught. This practice did not last very long as she connected more to her individual connection to a higher power/being rather than tying it down to specific religious sectors. 

Having lived a life so full of ups and downs, Natasha wishes to pass onto her son/children to not be contingent upon someone else’s belief and vice versa. Teaching them to live a balanced life and most importantly, aim for joy and not (wanting) more. 

That is also what she wants to leave to the world, to her family, her readers, and to her son, to be someone who always smiled, someone honest with herself and the world around her, and smiled while she did! All throughout her life journey before cancer, while battling it, and even after it.


What you read just now is just a glimpse, the tip of the iceberg if I may, of the long and adventure filled journey of one Natasha. If you want to know more about her journey, you can read “You have cancer, they said”.

 

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by Alyssa Sarmiento