You figure that as we move forward in life, different things we do have meaning. We also are put on different paths and some of us are tested.
Breast cancer was definitely a test of everything for me, including faith. And here I go again starting the appointments to check to see that it’s still gone. Had blood work and a visit with one of my doctors yesterday. In a couple of weeks the diagnostic mammograms begin, followed by ultrasounds, return to my surgeon for a check-up, and a breast MRI in May.
And thanks to Tamoxifen they have to watch my uterine lining and other fun stuff which could also mean surgical biopsies of tissue “down there” – hopefully I won’t get a post-op nurse like I did six years ago if it has to happen. There I was post-op lying on a temporary hospital bed in a day surgery post op room feeling like a pool of jello in pain and this nurse keeps chirping in my ear how I was going to be sore, and then like a stuck broken record she said like a hundred times how I could not have “relations” for a while. I remember thinking at the time that was the LAST thing on my mind and wishing I did not have rubber body parts as I would have loved to have stuffed something in her mouth….but I digress…
Honestly, part of me is a little scared, a little at sixes and sevens. I have heard from other survivors you hold your breath and then you breathe. And you go on.
It’s as I sit in these follow-up appointments thinking about all the things I have to do, that those damn thoughts creep in: Will I be o.k.? Will I remain cancer-free? Will I worry the rest of my life? Will God grant me the rest of my life to live and be happy with my sweet man?
Yes, I had a bit of a good cry about this early this morning. I know all of what I am feeling is normal, but seriously? I don’t have time for this stuff yet I know if I don’t make the emotional time, it will come back to haunt me.
Tomorrow is also the memorial service for the woman from my childhood who died in January from breast cancer. As a survivor, you can’t help but think “this could have been me.”
Now you know why my favorite Anna Nalick song is up.
Also in the weird life moments, I have found myself being reconnected to people I knew a long time ago directly and indirectly. Not creepy people, but really nice people. It’s like coming full circle.
Karma is just a funny thing, isn’t it? Take yesterday for example. I unearthed some stuff belonging to my ex and I decided I should return the things to him. As opposed to him who did things like refused to give me my girl’s bike when we split, I decided the right thing to do was return them. I hadn’t been on that street really since the moving van was there (or maybe the dedication ceremony of the PA Historical Marker I got approved in his neighborhood) , and it was weird to just look at what might have been. I looked at his messy property and ramshackle house (that now has a boat in the back yard, no less!) and felt this enormous sense of relief that I never moved there, never married him.
I am looking forward to my future with my sweet man. I love him as much as he loves me. He’s like coming home again, I don’t know how else to describe it.
But in between there are moments. Damn breast cancer moments. But I know they are just part and parcel of the moments in life that we have to deal with and accept.
Sometimes life is just like a giant twelve step program, isn’t it? (And no, I am not in recovery, but I appreciate the hard work of those who are).
I am finishing with the Serenity Prayer. It has been adopted by AA and those in recovery, but in fact it is the work of a theologian who was named Reinhold Niebuhr:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Truth to power on that, people.
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We decided to “live for five and plan for twenty”.
Let’s live as if we know we only have five years left, but let’s plan on living twenty.
Just crossed the five-year mark this spring. (That was the statistical milestone we were told of. “You have an 80% chance of reoccurence within five years”.)
(This is for Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, statistics vary)
It’s not like a statute of limitations or a warranty or a mortgage. We focus on the date for five years (well, for the 4 1/2 years after treatment when we can focus on anything else), but when it arrives there is no certificate, no guarantee, no verdict that it is all over and you’re out of the woods. It’s a strange mixed blessing. Here you are at “survival stage”, and statistically (pronounced “Insurance Companies”) no longer requiring oncologists. The other side of the coin…no longer under the care of Dr.Goslin, you feel as though you’re on your own now.
While it may not help to alleviate any fear or anxiety, we must remember we are all groping blindly toward our final end. Life and cancer and the universe are random and chaotic, and we can never know what will fall upon us. By the same token, the things that fall may be beautiful.
When your galaxy is on a crash course with another galaxy and flying through space at 600 kilometers per second…every moment is good fortune.
Be at peace.