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Jan. 31, 2023

Surviving Cancer and Ditching the Corporate Ladder: Talaya Dendy's Inspirational Journey

Talaya Dendy is an 11-year cancer survivor who, after her diagnosis, reevaluated her life and career, learning to put herself first and make healthier choices.

"My mom's love helped me to overcome cancer and to learn to put myself first and be okay with that."

Talaya Dendy is an 11-year cancer survivor who, after her diagnosis, reevaluated her life and career, learning to put herself first and make healthier choices.

Talaya's cancer journey began in 2010 when she noticed a lump on her neck. She was dismissed by her doctor, who assumed it was a pulled muscle. A year later, her mother took her to a different doctor, and Talaya was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She underwent six months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation and faced many difficult emotions. After her treatment was complete, she reevaluated her life and decided to pursue a career that she found more meaningful. The worst part for Talaya was having to tell her mother and watching her go through it with her.

In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. What led to Talaya's Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis?
2. How did Talaya's cancer diagnosis affect her career and relationships?
3. What changes did Talaya make to her lifestyle after her diagnosis?

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She basically dismissed that lump as a pulled muscle because I had been working out a lot.

But I knew by her reaction that something wasn't right. Just her physical reaction and energy. So then that came back as inconclusive. 

You do have Hodgkin's lymphoma. And I was driving. I had to pull over because I'm like, okay, what? And I knew it was something wrong. I just didn't expect it to be cancer.

Cancer? What? And so, really, I was walking around TJ. Maxx looking for answers, I guess, in a sense, and trying to calm my nerves. So I got myself together, drove back home, called my family, and told them the news.

It was the best thing that I could have done for myself because it allowed me to empty myself, in a sense, and take charge that Monday morning and start making the calls that I needed to make. 

I didn't have any cancer in my bones. And so that's when, after all the testing and going over the results with my oncologist, that's when we started putting together a care or treatment plan.

And then I started having night sweats, but that wasn't until really my diagnosis had taken place. But before the actual diagnosis, it was just really fatigue. 

They had done radiation on my neck, and I also developed nodules in my chest area or tumors. 

You're not happy, and you're doing this because society said you should go to college, and climb the corporate ladder, and that means you're successful. 

I always looked after other people. I was always a go-to person. So I started learning how to say no. I actually started looking at relationships with people that I thought were friends and even family members who were toxic, and needed to really reevaluate or even end those relationships to protect my mental peace. 

And I was like, well, what does that mean? And he's like, well, you don't have to come back here every week. You can start to pretty much get back with your life. 

And that's one of the things that I say is really tough. You're working very closely with your healthcare team, hopefully for many months, and then all of a sudden, the treatment is over. 

I felt like there was tension there before cancer, and cancer just added to that. So I came back to work. Of course, that was awkward. You could tell people didn't know what to say or what to do. 

I would have my treatments on Wednesdays, and my mom would come and stay with me until the weekend. Thankfully, her job was very flexible. 

She was right there every step of the way. And so I told her, I said, you did everything that you could. I believe you did everything that you were supposed to do, and you were a force of presence.

They're sick. Just show up for them. I think it will evolve naturally. Just start to show up and be consistent. 

I wish I knew that cancer wasn't just a physical thing at that time. I wish I knew that. I wish I knew that cancer impacted areas of your life, your emotional health, spiritual, just your overall well-being, your finances.

People are dying because they don't have the access, they don't have the education, and they're not being offered clinical trials. 

Thriver Rapid Fire 

Don't give up. Don't give up. Life is not over because you received a cancer diagnosis. 

Talaya DendyProfile Photo

Talaya Dendy

Cancer Doula

Talaya Dendy is a Cancer Doula, Cancer Thriver, and Podcaster who has dedicated her career to supporting, empowering, and advocating for people diagnosed with cancer. She developed a fulfilling career path from cancer patient to Founder of On the Other Side LLC, a cancer navigation enterprise.