05/31/2016 09:53 am ET Updated Jun 01, 2017

Grateful After Breast Cancer: The Urgency of Living

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015. I share my learning that jolted me back on track to a new life. This is my eight posting.

The last day of radiation was over. I felt elated! I asked a nurse to take a picture of me in front of the now oh-so-well-known radiation machine. My posting on Facebook of this victory moment attracted an enormous attention.

- You won!

The nurse said.

- Now, get out of here!

I sprinted out of the hospital. Tears of relief and joy streamed down my cheeks. It was over. I had done it.

I spent the evening alone in my apartment. I drank a small glass of champagne, but I was not in a festive mood.

Recurrently, I stopped to think about what I had been through this summer. I pictured myself lying on the floor in front of the TV doing the post-surgery exercises and failing to raise my arm above my head for three full weeks. I remembered all the nights wearing a huge sports bra to bed. It had once been white, now it had a dull, greyish tone.

Looking back I realized how difficult it had been. I had worked so hard to heal fast, I had reached out to so many people, read so many books, learned new recipes for healthy food, taken up yoga...

I had been a warrior. And now it was over. It was such a significant day.

A New Life Emerging

I was different, but what was new? Standing in my living room looking out, I noted a vast largeness around me. I felt taller and bigger. I had more personal space around me. This new feeling lasted a few moments.

My investment in rest, yoga, acupuncture and all the other things I had done to heal were paying off. I sensed a new version of me and knew I would be up for some surprises.

I started to notice small changes. I walked at a different pace. I enjoyed my food more than before. The flowers looked more vibrant.

Now I wanted to move forward. To start working again, to get my normal life back. But how could I integrate the new and the old me? I sat down with my Pink Notes to get an answer: "Choose love over fear and do not allow the little girl in you to take charge."

With this in mind, I went to Mallorca.

The Gift on Mallorca

For the past two years, I have spent many weeks on Mallorca writing a fiction novel. My writing home has been a small penthouse overlooking the sea. Huge pine trees stretch over the bay.

I have mostly spent time alone on the island and have gotten to know some locals. The week on Mallorca turned out to be a beautiful gift. Writing these pages, editing my fiction novel, doing yoga and meditation, eating good food in the sun.

A friend even turned out to be a lover and it took me by complete surprise. I asked him:

- What has changed? Why are we now together like this?

- I have not changed,

He said,

- I have always been very sweet to you. But you have changed.

Indeed I had.

I had been forced to live in the moment. Somehow, it had cleansed me. I saw the world with different eyes and that included seeing and valuing the warmth and love that this man gave. I decided to welcome the gifts of life and not to worry about the future.

A Larger World

I was relaxed and happy after the wonderful week on the island. My energy was slowly coming back and I looked forward to start working.

My normal life had been on hold for three months. I had lived in Stockholm for a full year, but now I could embrace this beautiful place. The stress of moving and having cancer was behind me. I loved my job, my new home, my colleagues, a publisher had accepted my novel and I was healthy and happy.

I was a different person. A veil had lifted.

I now know that being vulnerable is a good thing; I know that I am loved and that I am strong. I appreciate every day, the rainy storms, the sunshine, the good coffee in the morning, everything. I can't get enough of it. I am more fearless then ever and have never been more calm and relaxed.

With all my heart, I am grateful. Now onwards.

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