In November 2015, Julie Rohr’s life changed completely when she was diagnosed with retroperitoneal leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects soft muscle tissue.
With an extremely low survival rate, the Edmonton-native was told that her cancer was incurable. But, nearly five years later, the mom of two continues to live with appreciation for each day, saying, “Gratitude is the flow that keeps me going.”
In her own words:
“If you asked me what it was like to live with cancer four years ago, I would have probably answered that it was fairly frightening and very confusing. Honestly, the first weeks left me absolutely spinning. The bottom of my world seemed to have fallen out. I was 33 years old, and I had a six and a nine-year-old boy and a husband to tell.
“Over time, though, I’ve managed to change the way I look at the disease. People live with diabetes or heart disease, and they manage it. This diagnosis might seem more dangerous than other chronic diseases, but we’re all just learning to manage it in the best ways we can. I now think of it more like a chronic issue that isn’t an immediate panic. Every season comes with new highs and new lows to contend with.
“The lows are very low, as you’d expect, but there are very beautiful moments, too. I would like others to know that if you are looking for the beautiful instances within all the pain and trauma of living with metastatic disease – you’ll find them. That hospital roommate that makes you laugh. The support groups that become like family. The new doors that are opened for counselling others through their pain. All of these things have been beautiful outcomes I wouldn’t have expected. I think what surprised me the most was being able to reach inside and find an inner strength I perhaps hadn’t known was there. It surprises and delights me when I can reach that inner strength, get through the hardest moments and come out the other side feeling good.”