Ms. Independent Who?

Lung cancer has changed my life and made me the person I am today. This person would not recognize or probably even like pre-33-year-old Samantha. I don't think I was a very nice person. And, I know so many people hate the phrase, "Everything happens for a reason." I've found it to be true virtually my entire life.

An unclear path ahead

Some of you may have read an article where I specifically talked about how I never envisioned a future for myself. It was always a blank white slate. I'm not sure if I wrote it here or my personal blog. I've never had a passion for any particular type of career, except maybe art. So, when I was in college, I struggled to find my way. Who really knows who they are immediately after high school? All you're doing is looking forward to being an adult. No rules, no curfews. Do you really know what you want to do for a long term career at this point in your young life?

I didn't. I chose my college based on where my high school boyfriend was going. So very stupid. I knew he was going to GA Tech. After acceptation letters from UGA, FSU, and Georgia State University, I choose GA State. We would be right down the street from each other. Oh, how naive I was! I really blame it on all of those mushy 90's romantic teen shows. I thought I was going to be with this guy forever but that realization came to a head when we broke up my first week of school. Once again, so terribly stupid. If only I could go back now, I would slap myself so hard! He's actually the only guy who has ever broken my heart. So, there is that.

Finding myself after college

But, I moved on and continued to graduate cum laude. I always strived for excellence in my academics. I wasn't the smartest person in the world, but I was driven. Always wanting to be the best doesn't make you a better person or give purpose to your life. This would all come to be true about 10 years out of college and what feels like worlds away from my family and friends.

I was running a hotel and restaurant in a nice resort community. The crime rate is way below average. At this point in my life, I had a 7-year-old daughter with a guy I dated and eventually lived with for about 6 or 7 years. It was my second year being a single mom. Her father and I just couldn't agree so much and I wanted her to see a relationship that didn't consist of the type of fighting that came from us. I wanted her to see that she too could be independent. Everything was going great.

Then, the day that changed my world came and went, leaving a path of destruction for miles. I had stage 4 lung cancer and all indications said I was going to die before she graduated from high school. She's 14 now, so I'm a little more confident.

Now I know I don't have to do everything alone

What happened to that girl from high school and college? I hate to admit it, but she was a bitch. Well, she woke up and God gave her a really hard way of doing it. You can't go through this life and be so independent. I know I became this way because of the one that broke my heart, but it should've never happened. If only I would've let more people in and stopped being so driven, I could have enjoyed the life right in front of my eyes from the beginning. I was so blind.

Now, I know I can't do everything on my own. I need my family and friends physically and emotionally. I've learned to open my heart and let others in. I've learned to be humble and accept help when it's offered. And finally, quit being a bitch and started empathizing more with people. We never know what someone is going through and everyone could use that extra help. So yes, lung cancer changed my life, but I can't say it was in a bad way and I thank God for that.

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