— Amy Lyn Schnitzler
If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness today, what would you do with the rest of your life?
People sometimes ask themselves this question theoretically as a kind of inspirational exercise. And most say things like quitting their job and traveling the world, or going skydiving, or any number of things that might make them feel more alive.
But for Amy Lyn Schnitzler, there was nothing theoretical about the question. Amy was first diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2016 when she was 26-years-old. By November, it had progressed to metastatic; a terminal diagnosis.
For Amy, her terminal diagnosis was everything you might expect — heartbreaking, fear-inducing and painful — but it was also a wake up call. She didn’t want to go skydiving or traveling. She wanted to live. Not for adventure, but for herself and those who loved her.
She decided to catalogue her journey through blogging. These posts and other writings have become My Terminal Life: Cancer Habitation and Other Life Adventures. Her stories are funny, raw, and honest. They take us from her body shame to walking a fashion show runway in lingerie, and from the depths of her despair to a determination not only to live, but to thrive. Through it all, she portrays a heroic willingness to be transparent about her experiences so that others might better understand.
At just 26-years-old, Amy Lyn Schnitzler was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer; a terminal disease. She blogged about her journey, weaving both humor and vulnerability into what would later become her book: My Terminal Life: Cancer Habitation and Other Life Adventures.
Excerpts from My Terminal Life
Cancer: A life interrupted...?
There are moments in a person’s life that are forever imprinted in memory. I have a vivid recollection of sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table doing homework after grade school with my same-age cousin Michael, munching on her homemade chocolate chip cookies between hurried scribbles on my papers because the faster we finished our homework, the faster we could get outside to play, of course-that was the rule! Taking gulps...
"Meditation" on the clouds
I stormed in the door hot and dripping with sweat from my slower-than-normal- 3 mile run with my unruly dog, and my unrulier thoughts, and announced in an icy tone to my mother that I was in a terrible mood. She asked what she could do, and I shot back hastily, my voice fraught with teenage angst, “Nothing, I need my water and I’m going to sit outside.” I unleashed the dog, grabbed my bottle off the counter and the door slammed behind me (was that the wind, or did I just slam it?). I made my way to the back of the house...
A letter to my metastatic breast cancer
Dear Lung Spots,
First, I must start off by expressing my hatred for you and the countless ways you’ve impacted my life. You are dreaded, you are awful, you are terrifying, you are insidious. You came upon me completely unexpectedly. Just as I was beginning to feel like I could handle this “whole cancer thing” and everything that the last 7 months...
“Determined. I am determined to live an awesome life, a life not dictated by my treatments or side effects, or cancer in general. I am determined to love the beautiful people in my life. I am determined to contribute to this world in a meaningful way.”
— Amy Lyn Schnitzler