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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

5 Years

This week marks five years since my breast cancer diagnosis.  I can still run through the exact events that happened the day of my diagnosis.  I can still see the doctor coming in the room, looking down at the ground because she could not look me in the eyes.  I can still remember the thoughts that ran through my mind when she told me.  I remember asking myself "have I lived a life I am proud of?" and "how are we going to tell Jayden (my 4 year old son)?"  I remember my husband hugging me as we both cried.  Everything changed in that moment.  Nothing would ever be the same.

Five years later so much has happened.  Sometimes I still can't believe that I went through all I did but in other moments I feel like I relive it every day.  It's still surreal.  I don't think about having breast cancer every minute of every day like I did at the beginning, but it is a very real part of me in all I do.  I have finally gotten to a place where I "own it".  I no longer feel the shame I felt when I first got diagnosed.  I don't care if people know I had breast cancer.  It's part of who I am now. 

Breast cancer has changed my life in so many ways.  I still feel like it's effects evolve me a little more and more as time goes on.  I feel different about life, people and things going on around me.  I have a greater spiritual sense and connection to God.  My empathy and understanding for others is stronger in my heart.  I want the simple life.  I don't waste time on trivial things or superficial people.  I want to live each day like it's my last and find the joy, happiness, peace and possibilities that each day brings.

No one is ever prepared to hear the words "I am sorry there are cancer cells".  You can't even believe it is really happening when they say it to you, but some good can come out of it.  It took time for me to realize that my life could be better because of breast cancer.  I have changed in so many ways since getting cancer.  I like to think I have changed in ways that make me a better person.  I feel so much more authentic than my old self.  Life has a different meaning now. 

As I look forward to another year, I embrace all that 2016 can bring - both good and bad.  I know that I will move forward with strength and hope for a great future filled with all the joy I can find and create in my life.  I am grateful for the changes I see in myself and knowing I am a better person because of breast cancer.