When I lived in Italy I had a few nicknames — “the bambina” (I was the youngest person studying for my MBA), “succo d’arancia” (because every bar we went to for dancing or any event at the school, that’s what I drank) and “positiva” because I was always smiling and laughing.

At 21 living in a foreign country on my own studying exciting stuff like Black-Scholes models and stuff — what didn’t I have to smile about? Maybe getting dumped via transcontinental phone call? Nahhh… maybe learning my dad had an operation? Nahhh… how about recognizing my grandma who helped raise me was very sick? That one yes…

But through it all, my life has been a big series of ups and downs but I more often than not am smiling and laughing even when inside I don’t feel it — since cancer though I never asked “why me?” Instead I have laughed and joked and though petrified at first I learned really quickly that the whole world of positive thoughts and smiles is a hell of a lot better than any alternative.​

I joke that I’m so happy it must be that I’m stupid because you know stage 3 cancer is no joke but inside I feel just happy it was found, happy it’s “out,” and as I get close to my cancerversary, I recognize that getting to almost 2 years then 5 then 10 then 20+++ is my goal, my plan and my prayer.