“I grew up in a very sheltered house in a very and rural town. Alcohol, drugs, tattoos, piercings…they were all considered disobeying cultural norms so my parents discouraged anything that could be construed as “rebellious”.

I had a good childhood though and I was raised to be hard working, dedicated, and motivated member of society. So, at 18, I hopped a flight to Navy boot camp and started my life’s journey.

Then, life hit. At 21, I found what would become the first of many lumps in my breast. By 30, I had seven surgeries to include a bilateral mastectomy, I lost my sister to breast cancer, and I had a daughter. I thought I had tackled the rough patch.

At 32, I fell and fractured my spine, but the injury wasn’t diagnosed until I was 37. Suddenly, the avid runner could no longer walk (or shower, or dress) let alone run and I began to deteriorate into prescription medicine and alcohol. I felt I had no more life to give. So one night when I was alone, I drank a whole bottle of rum and took what was left of my medicine. It was the worst moment of my life. It was nearly my death.

But, I refused to be a statistic of any sort, so I fought to retire from the military and got a pain psychologist to help me determine how I saw myself…the new me.

I am now 40…and have since been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder due to chronic pain, Anxiety disorder, Fibromyalgia, Sleep Apnea, Myofascial Pain syndrome and Pars defect.

But I no longer identify with my diseases and diagnoses.

I am a strong mom, a retired officer, a breast cancer survivor, a tattooed bad ass, and a cannabis freedom fighter…

But more importantly, I am happy…redefined…😊”