Last year shortly after I completed my treatment and surgeries, I packed my car with the things I wanted to take with me into my new life, and my daughter and I hit the road from Florida to Colorado. With my Madison in the back seat watching the country whiz by, we listened to nostalgic music and talked about life in Colorado.
My new life here started out bright and adventurous- then a breast cancer mentor with the same diagnosis as I passed away. Then another with MpBC…then another. In a span of just over a month we lost 5 sisters to this aggressive beast. It punched me in my chest and brought me to my knees. Rather than pushing me to live life fully, it pushed me into a dark place. Unfortunately all this brought on a wave of depression and anxiety. I managed to crawl out of it with meds, meditation and love of my family. I wasn’t as bright and happy as I initially was when I landed here but it was better.
Fast forward to April-exhausted from the Cancer Hamster’s running’s I fell into another depression where all I thought about was dying, about the “what if’s” and the “why’s”. I reached out to my oncologist for help. This time she referred me to a cancer therapist and adjusted my meds. Seeing a therapist who understands the fear, anxiety and depression from a cancer diagnosis, one with true empathy and the ability to give you manageable coping skills is a truly an important resource to have-at diagnosis, during treatment and beyond. I started to feel better emotionally even though physically I still have issues-that adds to the mental fatigue.
During all this I found a mass in what’s left of my right breast. The terror is indescribable. I couldn’t eat, sleep or think of anything but ITS BACK. An office visit was scheduled-I thought I was calm going in, reasoning with myself that there was nothing until I’m told it’s something. Well, by the time I checked in, I was having a full on anxiety attack. I nearly hit the ceiling when my oncologist knocked on the door to come in. She examined me stating it felt like fat necrosis but she would order imaging ASAP. Going to imaging I managed better. Finding out it was indeed fat necrosis left me sobbing with relief. I sat in my car, tears running down my face while I messaged those who knew that I was being imaged. All I could think was – it’s so good to be alive.
Something happened that day with dealing with all that. It flipped a switch in which I suddenly felt alive and I stopped dwelling on the what if’s and death. I felt like I really wanted to feel- alive and happy despite all the physical crap and memory/cognitive issues.
The point to this post? Please my sisters, I know it’s hard as hell but don’t dwell on the crap. Don’t wait till you’re, in my case, 15 months post treatment to finally figure out that even with all the bullshit we’re left to deal with as survivors, we are still here. Alive.
Be. Here. Now. Not in the future and definitely not in the past. I’ve pulled my head out of the dark and into the light. I don’t know what the future brings- regardless of what those damn statistics say.
Living here and now-I made some very necessary changes to my life. I’ve booked those adventures I have put off for too long.
Be here now. We only have this moment.
As always #FuckCancer