Best Of Wildfire
January 2017, Vol. 1
Best Of Wildfire
January 2017, Vol. 1
On March 5th, 2016 -- my 39th birthday and my four-year cancerversary -- I launched Wildfire Magazine. I clicked 'publish' and sent the link to friends and family. Then I sat back to see what would happen. Would any get what I was trying to create? Would anyone care?
For several years I'd tried to return my life to "normal," to get back to what it was -- who I was -- before breast cancer. I worked all through chemo, radiation, and surgery, and afterward I redoubled my efforts, working harder than ever. I made up for lost time with my daughter, vowing cancer wouldn't leave any marks on our relationship. Ditto for my marriage. But as much as I tried to put breast cancer in my rear view mirror, the more it seemed to pop up: ongoing scans, friends with recurrences, early menopause, swim suits and bras that no longer fit, and more. As much as I tried to forget my cancer year, it just didn't seem possible.
And then it hit me: maybe it wasn't about getting back to normal. Maybe instead it was about redefining normal. I was changed from cancer. Maybe the trick to surviving was not to deny that but to embrace it.
One thing was for sure: I needed to find others like me (read: young women who had cancer way before the national average) to help me figure out the lay of the land.
Fast forward to March 2016. The first issue of Wildfire was titled PHOENIX and it was very much my battle cry to cancer and the world at large: I'm still here! It felt good to stake my flag and proclaim that while cancer had changed me, it hadn't ruined me.
What started out for me as a quest to find myself and reach other young survivors and fighters -- to let them know they are not alone in their journey -- has quickly become something more than that. I've since come to realize how very, very important the telling of our stories is, too. It has been my pleasure to help others put paper and ink to the thoughts and feelings inside.
In our first year more than sixty young survivors and fighters have shared their cancer stories in the pages of this magazine. I will forever be grateful for their trusting me and my readers to their words.
Here is our very first "Best Of" anthology, ten of the very best writing of our first year. If you've read these essays before, read them again. I promise you'll find something new here, something that speaks to you now. And if you haven't read them, you're in for a treat!
And when you're ready to tell your story, I'll be here.
April Stearns, Founder & Editor, February 2017
Cover photo by @septemberwren.
In dark moments I think my being away might be for him a kind of practicing, in case I should one day be gone. He could get used to it, maybe, and then maybe it wouldn't hurt so much. Though who would he be texting at 10pm on a Tuesday then...Read More
I wear my independence as a badge of honor and it was ripped from my chest along with my breasts. But when my parents brought me back to my apartment four weeks after my mastectomy, I was paralyzed by how lonely I felt...Read More
I attacked my post-cancer life with the same vigor and problem-solving as I did my cancer journey. I read a bunch books on anticancer – food, exercise, meditation... I bought the food and started meditating even. But dealing with something intended to go on a good long time (if not forever) is a lot harder, it turns out, than fighting something for a specific amount of time...Read More
Some days I still need to lock myself in our room and be alone and not deal with our reality – but that rarely lasts, and my middle daughter is now very close to being able to pick the lock...Read More
I could one day soon stop Tamoxifen and either create an embryo with a sperm donor or create an embryo with a yet-to-be-met significant other... but who would want to endure all this bullshit when just starting to date someone?Read More