Two years ago today I was told I had breast cancer and would have to undergo a mastectomy.
“Excuse me I have what? And you’re going to do what?!?!!?!”
I remember being in total shock. I don’t remember driving home from my appointment with the surgeon. I remember sitting on the couch, trying to make sense of what I had just been told and then planning on what I was going to say when I called my daughter and parents and friends. I remember telling myself that I had to hold it together; not to cry or get upset and to try to sound confident and in control when I made those calls. I didn’t want anyone to hear in my voice just how utterly terrified I was. I think I managed to be fairly calm and coherent but I wouldn’t bet on it.
For the past two years, cancer has consumed me. It is always on my mind in some form or another. I’ve researched everything there is to know about breast cancer. The options available. The treatments. The surgeries. The physical effects. The psychological effects. And especially the mortality rates. I made a plan. I organized my life in order to get through what was about to happen, and looked ahead on my calendar to circle a day/week or even a month that I thought I would be “finished” with this cancer business. I’m still waiting!
Two years, seven surgeries and countless appointments. Although I am blessed to be one of the lucky ones….I never would have imagined that the road to recovery would take so many detours. There is no direct route or optimal speed. There is no setting your GPS to the “fastest route” or putting on cruise control for an optimal speed as the route is anything but direct and the speed is a crawl at best. The cancer journey is full of twists and turns, roadblocks, potholes, and in my case, a lot of “re”-construction. All you can do is be patient, focused, and as positive as possible. You have to get up every morning and say to yourself, “I can do this!” Cancer changes us and anyone who says it won’t hasn’t had cancer. But it’s up to us to decide what that change will mean in our lives moving forward and who we will become as a result.
The definition of a Cancer Survivor : “from the time of it’s discovery and for the balance of life, an individual diagnosed with cancer is a cancer survivor.”
…and counting. I am a SURVIVOR!
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.