Warrior Diva Interview Series: Cancer Survivor Lauren Najar

Warrior Diva Interview Series: Cancer Survivor Lauren Najar

A "Warrior Diva" is someone who's survived great challenges and/or adversity in her life. It's not solely about narcissistic or domestic abuse. It can also be a chronic illness, cancer, loss of a close loved one, tough divorce, etc. The story is how we as women overcome that which is meant to defeat and conquer us. Our collective stories give hope and encouragement to other women...to other "Warrior Divas." 

I came across Lauren in a Facebook group for bloggers. It was one of those posts asking to "like for like" fellow bloggers' pages. I tend to actually take a look at a site or page to see if we have anything in common. I was immediately drawn to Lauren's page and her story. Having lost one parent, I can't imagine going through what Lauren did in her young life. 

Hope you enjoy Lauren's story!

Name:  Lauren Najar

A Little Bit About Her:  Lauren is 30 years old and has been married a little over a year. She's about to move to my hometown Chicago, IL. Lauren loves to be active and go to all the local beer and wine fests. Trying out new restaurants is also a love of hers and she has a little doggy named "Belle."

Survivor Story:  Lauren is a two time Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor and is currently battling hypothyroidism due to radiation treatment. She has also survived the loss of both parents within a year and half of each other in her early twenties. She lost her mom in 2008 and her dad in 2010. Lauren was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011, then again in 2012. Luckily, she's been in remission since 2013.

Lauren says since having to survive to so much she's completely changed as a person. She used to be a little anal and too serious about life. Lauren said she took herself a little too serious as well. Since having to survive all of these major life events she's done a complete 180 and has learned a valuable lesson to just "laugh" about life's events when they happen.

When I asked Lauren what the most difficult part of her journey has been, she said losing her dad was the hardest. From her cancer journey, Lauren said being in the hospital for three weeks all by herself aside from some rare visitors was the hardest. 

What Helps Her Cope:  Lauren learned to laugh and make fun of herself. She said with her bald head and weight loss there was nothing else she could do but laugh. That approach definitely helped her get through such a difficult time. Lauren also had a good support system of family and friends. She's been able to strengthen some meaningful relationships during these challenging times in her life. 

Her "A-HA" Moment:  When she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011, she'd become severely depressed. Then one day she woke up and told her then boyfriend that she wanted to prove everyone wrong and show them that she will survive this!

Helpful Resources:  Lauren said during her first battle with cancer there weren't any resources (i.e., social media, books, radio/TV, motivational speakers/authors, support groups, etc.) that she turned to or found helpful. However, she did find some on Facebook after her second diagnosis. Her friends, family and now her husband are her valuable support system as she continues on the healing journey.

Favorite Mantra/Quote:  "Laugh Always"

What 3 Words Describe You Now:  1) Strong | 2) Determined | 3) Easy Going

Current Healing Journey Status:  Lauren admits some days are worse than others, but overall her life is great. However, she says she's still haunted by missing both her parents and the fear of her cancer coming back.

Most Difficult Part of Healing:  Getting married and not having her parents there. The void she feels will never be filled, but she tries and believes there is an afterlife or a sense of feeling that her parents are still with her.

Advice/Encouragement For Other Women:  "You can't take it seriously to an extent. Of course, it (cancer) is a serious disease and yes, you will probably lose your hair. But, it's all temporary. You are strong than you think you are."

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Feel free to follow Lauren on her blog entitled "Laugh Always" and on her Instagram account @laughalwayswithlo. We look forward to hearing more from Lauren in future as a SpunkyDiva Diaries' guest blogger!

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