Today marks one year free from cancer.
It's funny to think that just one short year ago, I was preparing myself to head into a major surgery to remove both breasts and the cancer that was in one of them.
A year goes by both so fast and so slow. How does time work like that? How can it be a whole year since all that happened and it feel like it was a lifetime ago but also feel like it was just yesterday?
I can remember exactly how I felt when I was being wheeled into surgery--scared and crying like a fool from the anesthesia that they had given me. I remember what it felt like to wake up and how it hurt like a mother but my whole family was there so I wanted to be happy to see them. How the drains itched and were constantly poking me and keeping me from having a shower. That feeling when they were finally all removed. The expanders as hard as rocks and then the implants really not much better.
All of it. I remember all of it like it was yesterday. But it was not. It is a year later and here I am. Fake tits and all. Almost like nothing ever happened.
But it did. And I'm reminded every day about it. Medication to keep the cancer at bay, which thankfully, gives me little to no side effects that I'm aware of. I haven't had a period in 13 years and that hasn't changed. For 12 years it was from the IUD, now I don't know what it's from. The IUD was removed so the estrogen would not encourage the cancer to grow and I kinda thought I would get it again, but nope. I have no idea if it's because I'm 47 and have gone through menopause or if it's from the tamoxifen mimicking menopause. I suppose it really doesn't matter though, does it? My baby-making days are over.
Never sleeping on my stomach again because it feels like lying on softballs. That one has been hard. no pun intended
One stupid pointy nipple all the time because I can't feel a friggin thing there anymore and stupidly did not think to ask the surgeon to remove both to be symmetrical.
Less financial stability than I had just a few years ago. Not directly due to the cancer, but it certainly played a role. Rising health insurance costs that I MUST pay for--no way I could consider going without health insurance now. It's daunting and overwhelming to think about. Is the cancer going to come back? How long do I have? Do I have enough time to create financial stability for my kids? There are no answers to these questions.
And yet, I really have nothing to complain about in regards to my cancer. Others have it so much worse than I did/do. I have my hair (as thin and blah as it is), I did not have to have chemo, and I don't carry the gene that could potentially give it to my kids. I'm working and will continue to work. I feel good (although I never felt bad!) and overall I'm not much worse for wear.
My friends (you know who you are!) have been incredibly supportive for everything--from food after surgery, to picking up and dropping off kids, to listening to me cry and complain about whatever is going on in my life that is giving me stress--I don't know what I would do without them. I have therapists in many forms--running buddies and cancer buddies and the very best sister-in-law ever--they keep me sane.
I was having a particularly bad day one time and was furiously texting my friend a million different what ifs, doing what I do best and overthinking and worrying about what may or may not happen 2-10 years from now. And she was like Whoa, Michelle. Slow down. Just take it one day at a time. That's all you can do, right?
So that's my mantra now and I'm stealing it from AA.
One Day a at Time.
So cliche but such good advice, really. But that's all we have really is just today. No point in worrying about the past because that can't be changed. Worrying about the future doesn't do any good either because whatever is going to happen is going to happen whether you worry about it or not. That phrase, as silly as it might seem to others, keeps me going.
So today I'm going to work as usual, watch my kid play some basketball, I'll probably clean my house and play with my dog and hopefully, get a run in.
Just one day at a time.