"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Everything is different 3 months later

As I get ready to start chemo tomorrow, I keep thinking about all that has happened in the past few months and how life is so different.  In the beginning of December, I started my day like any other day.  I got up, showered, got my son off to school and was off to work with one little stop on the way.  I stopped to have a follow up mammogram and it never crossed my mind it would be any more than that.  I guess I just never thought I could wind up here, with cancer. 

I remember that cold, beautiful sunny morning as I left the cancer center to drive to my husband's office and tell him they thought I had breast cancer.  It was so gorgeous out....such a clear blue sky and such bright sun.  I had my sunglasses on as I cried and drove the 25 miles to my husband's office.  I can still see the look on his face when I tried to tell him and just sobbed.  Everything still seems so clear in my head.  That was the day that changed everything forever. 

Now that it is almost three months later, I can barely comprehend all that has happened.  Visiting cancer centers, meeting surgeons, meeting medical oncologists, lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, mastectomy, getting a chemo port and now, starting chemo tomorrow.  I remember at the beginning of this just hoping time would go quickly and I could get through this fast.  Now I can't believe that almost three months has already gone by!  I also still can't believe that this is my life and I have breast cancer.

I guess I have to stop for a moment and marvel all I have already come through.  I have been so fixated on everything else that lies before me that I never really stopped to think about everything I have already completed.  I remember being so scared for the biopsy, the first surgery and especially the mastectomy surgery.  I got through all of that fine, so why should chemo be any different? 

It has been a long road for sure.  I am trying to think about what I have learned through all of this so far.  I am not sure what I am taking away from this experience so far.  I know that I never took the time before this to realize how many people love me and care about me so much.  I have had those special moments with my family and friends where they have told me exactly how they feel about me and what I have brought to their life.  These are the things we never take the time to tell the people we care about.  That is truly a blessing.  I can still recall those emotional, loving conversations with all of the special people in my life. 

I know that the things I worried about before my diagnosis, don't worry me any more!  I use to worry a lot about money and jobs and making sure we would be secure financially.  That caused me a lot of stress.  Now I just don't waste time thinking about it.  I figure that somehow it will all work out as long as we are together as a family.  We will do what we have to do and get by fine.  I use to worry about work a lot too.  Maybe it's because I am on short term disability right now, but I just don't care about work.  I guess when I go back to work I know I will find a better balance of work and personal life because work really is just that, work.  It does not define me or my life.  When I work, I will give it my all, but when I am done for the day it will be put aside so I can spend time doing the things that really matter. 

When I think about how I am handling all of this, I don't know what to think.  Everyone keeps saying how amazing I am and how strong I am.  I don't feel like that.  I feel like I was dealt some pretty bad shit and I am just dealing with is because I don't have a choice.  I have cancer....I have to do this crap.  It doesn't make me amazing or strong, it's just the life that stands before me and I have to keep walking through it.  People always say "I could never do that" which drives me crazy.  If someone told you that you had cancer, you WOULD do it because you would have no choice!  The only difference between me and someone else is that I don't have a choice.  I have to do this.  That does not make me strong or amazing.  I am being forced to do this every step of the way. 

I know I am trying to picture life after breast cancer.  I picture a life with more time spent with the people I really care about.  I imagine especially spending more time with my son doing fun and memorable things.  I see happy vacations filled with lots of laughter.  I see a healthy, fit, sexy woman with a smile on her face.  I see a woman helping others get through the treatment of breast cancer and coming out feeling good.  For now, I hold on to what I see in my head and long for the day when all of that is reality.  I have already come through almost three months of this without even realizing that!  I wonder what life will be like three months from now for me.  I know for sure chemo will be over and it will almost be time for my surgery to put my permanent implants in.  Once that is over with, maybe the life I see in my mind will come to be.  I hope and pray for that every day.

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