So Life Hasn't Turned Out the Way You Thought....

So, some things don't turn out the way you plan, and life most certainly never turns out the way that you plan.  I was asked the other day what made me decide to be so open, and so vocal throughout the course of my treatment for breast cancer.  Looking back on the day when I sat staring at my computer screen debating whether or not to tell the world that I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, I wasn't sure about telling everyone- or staying silent.  But, something inside of me just told me I had to do it.  When I finally worked up the courage to share what was undoubtedly the biggest news of my entire life, I thought to myself "If nothing else, maybe this will give my friends courage to check into things earlier than what I did..."

Sitting there that day in January in the office that would only be mine for a few more weeks, I had no idea how things were going to turn out, and I really didn't know that sharing my story would become what it has.  In all honesty, looking back, I probably wasn't thinking straight, my head was no doubt swimming, and I was probably in a state of shock, but it didn't matter then, and it doesn't matter now.  I probably changed the course of the rest of my life with just one click of the mouse... "POST" changes everything.

For me, being vocal about what I was going through was not only a release, but it also forced me to be accountable.  It forced me to keep going, because I knew everyone was watching.  I probably would have done it anyway, but some days, it was the extra kick in the ass that I needed.  Because lets face the cold hard truth here, cancer treatment isn't easy, and it's most certainly not fun- and some days I really needed to know that people were rooting for me and paying attention to make sure that I strapped my boots back on and kept going.

Several weeks ago after spending an hour on the phone with a newly diagnosed patient, I received a call from my breast surgeons office.  My heart sunk when I was asked "Do you still want to do this?  Do you still want to talk with our newly diagnosed patients."  I quickly went over the conversation in my mind that I had just had with this patient, and wondered, "Did I say something wrong?"  I assured the caller that I most certainly wished to keep doing what I was doing, and was admittedly relieved when she said that she was glad to hear that because the last patient that I had talked to went on and on about how my words changed her whole outlook on what she was about to undergo.  Whew!  Sometimes my brain still doesn't work right, and I often wonder if I even make any sense, so it was a relief to hear this news.

I guess for some it's hard to understand, my choice to relive what was obviously one of the most traumatic events of my life.  But, for me- it gives my cancer a purpose.  If my words, and my experiences keep someone else from feeling that same sense of overwhelming anxiety as what I had in my early days of diagnosis, well then I want to keep doing it.  I want to share my story, and I most certainly want these women that I speak with to know that while life after cancer is forever changed, there is most definitely life after cancer. 

Yes, my life is different after cancer in many ways- some of which aren't great.  But, in all honesty I can honestly say that I'm doing pretty damn good.  Yes, my brain feels like it's drunk most of the time (yes, still 1 year after chemo- it just doesn't work right)- but it's a heck of a lot more functional than it was at this time last year.  While I definitely have A.D.D. and a serious inability to focus most of the time, there are things that I'm better at that I was before, and sometimes my creative juices flow more freely.  Yes, my body is definitely different- there are days when I still can't feel my fingers or my toes, and I definitely have side effects from chemo.  But, on a positive note- I'm a heck of a lot thinner than I was before- and I've got 2 perfect breasts (which I most certainly didn't have before!).  My hair is growing back like crazy, and I've got amazing curls (which I have finally worked up  the courage to embrace!).  I always wanted perfect breasts, and curls- I just wouldn't have gone about it this way, but it's okay.  Sometimes we just have to accept things for what they are and make the most of it.

1 comment

  1. So awed by you!!! I shared my journey with very few because mine was nothing like yours. Love your courage and strength and amazed by you! Thank you!!! I couldn't do what you are doing.


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