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Learning To Live Life After Cancer

Living life after cancerWhen I was growing up, I had a dream of becoming a mother. In fact, that was pretty much my entire vision. I wanted to grow up to be a mom.

Today, I am lucky and blessed with a six year old daughter, but the journey getting here looked nothing like I thought it would.

In mid-2014, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Appendiceal Cancer. It was August and for a photographer, this is in the middle of wedding season. I had been training for a half marathon, working with two personal trainers, walking and attempting to run for three months. By August, I had gained over 12 lbs.

After two trips to the doctor and two mis-diagnoses, I found myself at the ER for a third opinion. They found a tumor. The news terrified me. I was training, I was in the midst of getting healthy, being in tip top shape to run a half marathon! How do you tell your kid, your only kid, that you are sick?

Not that illness is a new thing to our family. In 2010, my husband was diagnosed with chronic Pancreatitis and has been in the hospital several times. I was supposed to be the strong one. I was the glue that held our family together. I worked, I took care of our daughter, I packed the lunches, I dropped off, and picked up our daughter.

We are fortunate. We have family in town, we have friends who are our adopted family and everyone came full circle to help us out. From making dinners, to watching our daughter, the support we had was beyond anything I had ever imagined.

So fast forward to 2016. My dream of being a mom has not changed. I am a mother to one. Although my motherhood dream doesn’t look anything like I imagined it would be, I have learned to slow down and enjoy the time I get with my daughter. Being there for my daughter is even more important for me now.

Learning to live life after cancer has been a challenge trying to figuring out boundaries and reconstructing goals. The surgery to remove the cancer left me unable to have any more of my own children. In the long run, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

We just have to find alternatives, such as looking into adoption. We are trying to figure out what the best route is for us.

In a time of my life when everything was going so fast, it allowed me lots of downtime to figure out what’s important. I’m no longer rushing to book as many photo sessions. I work to stay busy because when I’m not busy I get sad and depressed. I am still working on balance, but my family and my health is priority and not living in the past.

Mostly I try my best to listen to my body. I’ve learned that if it needs rest, I rest.


Kelly WozniakMy name is Kelly.
I am a wife, mother, entrepreneur, UNR graduate.
I like tea, food, helping others, and traveling with my family.
I am also a cancer survivor, stage IV Appendiceal Cancer to be exact.

You can view Kelly’s photography website here


About Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor


  1. And you are amazing at all the things you are. And you are a dear friend to many…

  2. You are an inspiring, special woman Kelly. I am happy to know you and call you a friend.

  3. Wonderful transparency and inspiring. I can relate to figuring out how to live after cancer, too. It changes so many things, but embracing it and working with it is key. You are doing it beautifully.

    Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,
    Emily Reese

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