five years

13102879_1186364034709879_1882917752094807097_nTomorrow is a very emotionally loaded day for me. And it’s not because my high school reunion weekend is starting again , it’s because it was five years ago tomorrow I received my breast cancer diagnosis from Dr. Dahlia Sataloff calling me from a conference somewhere in Colorado (I think that is where it was) because she didn’t want some random person to tell me.

Shortly after that I received a care package from Charleston, South Carolina. It was from my  lifelong friend Karen.

Well oops she did it again and I’m crying again because she has been such a loyal friend to me for so many decades at this point. Even though her birthday is first the week before mine, she sent me a birthday box now.

She always knows. And she always buys people things that are meaningful to them. She is incredibly thoughtful. And intuitive. 

I have been a bundle of emotions as this anniversary arrives. I just can’t help it.  So much has happened in five years.

Yes, I have been surgically altered and treated for breast cancer and will live on Tamoxifen for up to 10 years. Thus far no recurrences  thank God, but my life has changed so much in five years. Wonderful, positive, amazing changes… and I still think a lot of all that would not have happened if I did NOT get diagnosed with breast cancer.

I remember vividly the day I received the news.   I remember that room spinning, semi-stunned moment.  I also remember how people were when I started to divulge the news. Maybe I shouldn’t have told people at my reunion, but it was like the words came tumbling out. I had decided I needed to be open about what was happening to me, and that was when I also started this blog.

But what I have learned over five years is a lot of people can’t handle discussing cancer. Or they can’t stand hearing it discussed. Or they think you are weird for discussing it. hell, sometimes I feel weird being able to discuss it.  Or sometimes I can’t handle discussing it at all.  It became my new reality five years ago, and not by choice.

In the span of five years I have lost friends new and old to breast cancer as well as other cancers.  I have friends fighting breast cancer and nasty forms of leukemia now. And here I am. One of the lucky ones. I am blessed, I feel blessed.

I remember five years ago friends from high school at the reunion asking other friends if I was OK because I was open about having received a breast cancer diagnosis. I remember how I felt and my replies to them only I heard because I kept it to myself and just smiled every single time someone said something like that.

What did I say to those people at the time? Nothing much.

This however, is what I was thinking:

Am I OK? F*ck no. I just got diagnosed with breast cancer. Part of me is terrified but I know I will fight. I know I want to remain positive no matter what happens, but haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. What I do know is sorry for the inconvenience but the only thing I do know right now is I have to talk about it. I need to talk about it. 

And outwardly I smiled, I chatted, I drank wine with my classmates from high school and I took photos.

I was at that moment terrified. I never really acknowledged that emotion until much, much later because I was afraid it would slow me down and hold me back.

And guess what? At five years a bit of the fear is back. I am fighting it. But I can feel it and I have to acknowledge these feelings.  I am not having my mammogram I am due until my reunion weekend is over. So next week I make my appointment and face my fears head on. Again.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Five years. Wow.


Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas,
Everybody’s looking for something.

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Hold your head up
Keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on
Keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up
Keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on
Keep your head up, movin’ on

~Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams

About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
This entry was posted in breast cancer, health insurance and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to five years

  1. I wish you well Carla and I am glad you are so open and share your feelings. I think we all need to keep walking through our fears in to the love we are made of.

  2. J says:

    Bless, Carla. Keep on keepin’ on.
    Like the Doodah Man! (sorry, it popped into my head).
    Breathe in the azaleas, let go the tears. Give your sweet man a smile.
    Thank you for speaking your mind and be well, dear Carla. 🙂

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