On October 7th, 2016 I received the most shocking news of my life.
My name is Lindsey Finkelstein, and I have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
Being 22 years old, I could not grasp the idea.
First came the anger, then frustration and finally fear.
How could I be so young and have cancer? How will I be strong enough to cope with this disease? Will it affect my mental health? Will I be able to continue school?
In the blink of an eye, my whole life changed and I feared that it would never be the same. As each day passed by, I began to hide what was happening to me. I hid and I crawled under my sheets not wanting to accept what I have been told.
All my anxieties came to the forefront of my consciousness, and I am someone who wakes up every morning with anxieties of feeling ugly, fat and not important.
Imagine waking up in the morning and already hating yourself. Imagine avoiding the mirror at all costs and not wanting to leave your house to avoid people making eye contact with your chubby face.
It amazes me that I was able to accept the fact that I had cancer, but not able to accept the pain of feeling fat.
When life threw me CANCER, the only thing to do in order to reduce my current stress levels was to LAUGH.
For my own health, I couldn't bare having cancer as an additional stress because I would have crumbled to pieces.
Instead, I decided to live by my hashtag #howtohavefunwithcancer and everyday I tried to find comedy in everything and anything.
I made extracting my eggs entertaining and hosted a goodbye party to my breasts. I wanted other people to understand that although it may seem like I am going through hell, I will do my very best to walk with my head held high.
I had to get cancer to realize how important I am.
It's only now that I see my true beauty, my importance in this world, my qualities and my perfections.
It was because I shared my story and allowed myself to be vulnerable that I received an outpour of love shown by my community.
I created a public display to showcase my journey - my good days and my bad days, the pretty days and the ugly ones too.
I don’t think many young adults understand what its like to deal with mental health nor cancer, unless of course they are dealing with it themselves, and I think it's important to raise awareness and diminish the stigma against it.
The message that I’d like to share is: find your inner beauty, right this very second.
Do not wait until something bad happens to realize your importance and significance in this world.
Each day we should wake up and say: what can I do today to laugh? What can I do today to feel happy, to feel important, to feel special?
Since my diagnosis, I haven't woken up feeling fat or ashamed, and that is the best feeling in the entire world.