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

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's been 4 months since I got breast cancer

I just realized today that this week it will be four months since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In some ways the time has gone by slow, but in other ways the time has gone by fast.  Regardless, I still can't believe this is my life.

So much has happened in the past four months.  It started with all the tests to try to figure out what was going on and what needed to be done.  Next there was a sentinel node biopsy, lumpectomy, oncotype dx test, bilateral mastectomy, chemo port surgery and chemo.  When I stop and think about all that I have been through, I still can't believe this is my life.

I remember when this started I just wanted to be through everything that I had to do.  Now I am through so much of it.  I look back and can't believe it.  This week I will be 75% done with chemo and then I just have my exchange surgery (for permanent implants) in June.  I don't know how I got through everything I have done, I really don't.  I never thought I could do all of this.  I was petrified and had huge anxiety over every single step too.  I cried so many tears Kleenex sales should have skyrocketed! 

Now that I look back I have learned a few things.  I have learned that you have to read about everything and become your own advocate.  I have learned you better completely understand your pathology report and ask lots of questions (even if the doctors and surgeons don't like it - who cares?).  Exercise is the thing that keeps me feeling good and emotionally sane (at least on most days).  I have learned to "problem solve" for myself.  What I mean is, my biggest fear of chemo was losing my hair.  I did research and found a solution in Penguin Cold Caps.  I was worried about losing eyelashes and eyebrows so I found some help with Latisse.  Reading and talking to other breast cancer patients has been very helpful to prepare myself for what was to come and know how to handle any issues that came up.  By far the biggest thing I learned in this is that the anxiety of everything I have had to endure before it happened was more difficult than actually going through it.  I have to say this whole journey has been easier than I ever anticipated.  Don't get me wrong...this has not been fun at all, but I have been able to get through everything and most of it hurt less than I ever imagined. 

I am not done with my journey yet as with breast cancer it is a life long battle, but it does feel really good to have so much behind me right now.  I will look forward now and focus on getting through chemo (only 3 more weeks and I am done!) and figure out how to put my life back together.  I finally feel like I will get to a place where breast cancer WON'T define me. 

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