S.T.A.R.S. Arizona

Bigger Than Myself

Melinda Montoya
Phoenix, AZ
Breast Cancer, Stage 2, 3 year survivor
Volunteer for A2ndAct.org and Cancer Survivors Circle of Strength of Arizona

1. What was the darkest moment in your cancer journey?

There were a few dark moments, but what stands out is the not knowing. Would I live? Because inside I felt like I was dying, especially laying there in bed after a chemo treatment. So many questions, and I felt dark inside, with those closest to me not understanding what I was trying to say. Communication was hard, for someone like me, who loved to express herself in writing and talking. It just wasn’t the same. Would I ever be the same?

2. If you could go back and talk to your pre-cancer self, what would you say?
I would say, “God has seen you through again.” Look Melinda, your purpose is bigger than yourself, bigger than anything you could imagine. Your mission statement will be, “Life is not about you but someone else.”

Oh, and by the way, chemo is going to suck! The tears may not feel as if they are going to stop, and the stomach pains that felt like fire… it’s going to be rough. But God will never leave you, never has, never will!

3. How has cancer changed you?
Cancer has opened my eyes to realize that every day is a gift. I try to see people, to really look at them when saying hi. I try to be kinder. My fellow sister and brother survivors have changed me. We are all awakened and most of us don’t want our experience to go in vain. That is a big part of a 2nd Act: doing something you never thought you would possibly be doing, having your dream come true.

4. What motivated you to pursue your 2nd Act?
I love to write. Putting down on paper this extraordinary journey was a privilege and blessing. I am part of the Cancer Survivors Circle of Strength of Arizona. Volunteering for this group has allowed me to go to different events all over the Valley of the Sun. It totally gave me the desire to try and do more. And it opened the door for me to be involved with A2ndAct.org.

5. What has been your brightest moment in your 2nd Act?
I’ve met the most amazing women! And my story has been added to books that will go down from generation to generation. My family has been so supportive and some of the brightest moments have come from them. We are closer; we know that life is short and time slips away. Learning to live in the moment has been the brightest moment of all.

6. Where do you see yourself going from here?
I hope to continue to write my own book. I hope to speak to other women, encouraging them through their journeys. And I would defiantly love to make a career of it!

7.What’s your favorite quote and how does it fit into your 2nd Act?
I have so many … but here’s my favorite today: “I’m not interested in whether you’ve stood with the great. I’m interested in whether you’ve sat with the broken.” –The Age of Enlightenment

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