One year ago today I went to a doctor's appointment to have stitches removed with 4 little kids with me, thinking it would be just another day.
One year ago today I found out the cyst on my chest was skin cancer.
One year ago today I was told the cancer was not contained. The cancer had already spread. My margains weren't clean. I would need surgery quickly. My collarbone could be compromised.
One year ago today my world changed.
One year ago today I pulled my shit together in front of the 4 kids I had and tried to communicate through tears and contain the sobs that were only seconds away.
One year ago today I began a love-hate relationship with my doctors ( lots of them), the nurses I would talk to more often, and the scheduling people who I would talk to, and plee to, the most.
One year ago today I cried uncontrollably on the front porch of my house as my children and the neighbors I was babysitting were inside watching a movie as I called my parents and my best friends. I stayed on that porch until my Brian raced home from work, where he met me and we held each other and cried together for what seemed like an eternity.
One year ago today I began blogging about the most serious shit I've ever faced. I did it that day because I needed to. I needed to be heard. And if I didn't, I would crawl into bed and not get out. Read the first post here.
One year ago today, I decided instantly that this thing...this cancer that could have been in control but was spreading out of control was NOT going to define me. I wouldn't let it. I would take control of it.
So, one year ago today, I attended my niece's 5th birthday party. I put on my makeup and my hawaiian luau dress and I dances and giggled with her, because she needed me there and I needed to show her and everyone I could do it. I could put my kids and my family first and get through.
( picture taken my sweet Alaric)
I'm cancer free! Since October 6, 2011
I'm wiser on skin health
I'm kinda pale :-)
I'm an advocate for my health and wellness and have found doctors who I will never see again, and ones I would fight for to keep on my team.
My family still loves me, even though there were a million times they shouldn't have.
My marriage is stronger than ever.
But...Its been the toughest year of my life.
My marriage strained. Friendships strained. My health has been a teeter-totter of ups and downs. I've found two lumps in my chest and had one removed. I've struggled with moments of depression and frustation and even anger and I tried desperately to be everything to everybody, except for myself. I've been able to come out on the other side and tell about it.
I can't tell you how grateful I was to meet and have wonderful people in my life who stood by me and supported me. People who made us meals, and took me out for drinks and dinners, and called and left voicemails that I saved for months and relistened to over and over. People who counted down the days til my surgery. People who loved me on my good days and loved me even more on my bad. The pieces to my puzzle.
Brian was my rock. Even when we were at our lowest point in our marriage, "we" remained. He never lost faith in us and what we had built. He is the person I am forever grateful to the most. What would I ever do without you, Brian? I love you.
My journey isn't over. I still see my doctor's more often than I wish. We use the "c" word often and they never seem to let me forget that I am 70% more likely to have a re-occurance. I'm extremely aware. I have friends with all kinds of cancer now-that club you don't ever want to belong to...those who are in remission and those fighting with all they have to stay alive for their families. I've been so humbled to meet these people and connect with them and share stories and count blessings. I've spoken on a cancer discussion panel and I've begged everyone I know to please slather their children with sunscreen. EVERYDAY.
One year ago today my world changed.
While I wish things could have been different...wished it wouldn't have been me. It wasn't. It was me. And I'm here today to tell you I am a better person than I was a year ago.
I'm more confident.
I'm an advocate.
I'm a better wife.
I'm a better mom.
I'm me. And I'm changed.
Today I'm happy. I'm healthy. I'm cancer-free!