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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Year Comes to an End...Another Year Begins

Here I sit on New Year's Eve Day reflecting on another year.  Four years ago I sat here writing about hope for 2011 which would be a year full of cancer treatments and surgeries.  Now I sit here looking forward to a year that seems way more amazing than that! 

So much has happened in the last four years since finding out I had breast cancer.  The more time goes on, in many ways it is harder for me to believe that I actually went through all of that, but there are still lingering thoughts and reminders.  Now I still look at my reconstructed body and think "that's not my body".  I don't think I will ever except the new body....I can't imagine ever not thinking "that's not my body" when I see my reflection in the mirror.  There are too many differences and the scars never completely go away even though they fade significantly.  I still take tamoxifen every day and there are reminders from that too.  I suffer from body pain and aches in my hands and feet from the medication.  I am sick of living with pain from this stupid medication, but it is the medication that is suppose to save my life.  I keep trying to tolerate it and not let it effect my daily life, but it does.  My feet hurt so bad lately, I hardly workout.  I am really going to focus on finding a way to manage this pain or lessen it in the next year.  I hate feeling like an 80 year old women every morning when I get out of bed every day, but I am happy to be here and be able to get out of bed every morning so I will forge forward.  Hopefully I can find a way to minimize this and not suffer daily from pain.

This next year will be super busy.  My business is going into full swing which is super exciting.  I am Vice President of the PTO at my son's school and will be President of the PTO next year.  That is keeping me really busy.  I am focused on bringing more STEM education programs into our school and working on a big anti-bullying campaign for next fall.  I hope to make an impact on the school so kids can have even better learning opportunities and also learn how to spread kindness to others and not bully one another.  I have set some lofty goals there haven't I??  Oh well.....I always say to my son, "be the change you want to see in the world"....so I am doing exactly that or at least trying really hard!  I also continue to reach out to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to talk to them so they realize someone else actually "gets it" and has walked in their shoes.  I want to offer them hope when they have none.  I want to offer them friendship and kindness at the most difficult time in their life.  We also continue to welcome other kids into our family.  We hosted an exchange student last year and I continue to volunteer with the organization on a regular basis.  We always have exchange students coming and going on the weekends at our house which is fun...and we are getting a new student from Tunisia in a few days so our family is always expanding. 

Life is full!  Life is happy!  Life is filled with friendship and love!  LIFE IS GOOD!  As I sit here in northern Michigan at a ski resort while my family is skiing (I can't go...I have a fractured arm), I watch the snow fall on the trees and the sun shining down.  It is beautiful, peaceful and calm.  I love to take these moments to "stop and smell the roses" or "stop and watch the snow fall" and enjoy.  I sit here and am so grateful for the amazing life I have.  I look to the new year with hope, happiness, faith and big dreams for another magical year.  Happy New Year all!  :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bittersweet Time of Year

Well it has been a super long time since I have written.  I guess that is because life slowly returns to normal and busy after breast cancer treatment is over.  It's that time of year that is filled with joy, cheer, decorations and happy times, but for me it is still bittersweet.  It was this time of year when I heard those life changing words "it's not good...there are cancer cells" four years ago.  In many ways, it seems SO long ago, but in other ways all of it comes rushing back.

This time four years ago, I was living a care free life.  I thought that cancer and all other bad things could NEVER happen to me.  Those things only happen to other people.  I got up and plowed through each day and didn't appreciate things as much as I could have because I was too busy....too stressed.....life was crazy.  I didn't take time to "live in the moment" as much as I should have.  I was not as patient as I could have been.  I was always over committed and felt like I was juggling way too much.  I would not say I was a bad person...I was just normal.  Looking back now, I think I was a bit naive.

Now, four years later, I am different.  I have learned a lot in the last four years that has changed me.  I definitely see that I have learned how to not sweat the small stuff as much as I use to.  I let things go way more than I use to.  I live in the moment more.  I take time to stop and smell the roses.  I am more patient with my son and others.  Most of all, I have grown to understand TRUE empathy for others.  I feel I can connect with people on a different level when they are faced with a difficult situation or tragedy in their life.  Breast cancer has made me a better person.  I guess that is the silver lining to the dark cloud cancer brings. 

I like most of the changes in myself.  I can't say I am "glad" that I went through breast cancer, but it did bring me to a better place in life in many ways.  I want to look to the future holding on to that because some good did come out of this experience. 

For those of you reading this that are newly diagnosed, or still going through treatment, it is a long road.  I am not some "strong" woman or "super girl".  I was not different than you when I was going through this.  I never thought I could reach a place like this in my life after my diagnosis.  I just want to assure you that you can get here too.  Give it time.....  I hate that old saying "time heals all wounds", but it is true!  Time can work miracles.  Be patient and kind to yourself!   Happy holidays!