Well, literally, what a long strange trip it’s been. Today is an anniversary of sorts.
It was 10 years ago this afternoon, as I was sitting in my then office that my cell phone rang. It was my breast surgeon calling from a conference in Colorado. She didn’t want some nurse to just give me the news she had to share. I had been formally diagnosed with stage two invasive lobular breast cancer.
My first reaction was I cursed, and then apologized to my surgeon Dr. Sataloff. Then I called my not yet husband but then boyfriend and blurted out the news in a jumble of fast moving somewhat surreal words. In his always calm way he simply said “when do we see the surgeon?”
The next day was my 30th high school reunion. I remember some of my classmates asking other classmates if I was o.k. essentially because I told people my diagnosis. I remember feeling pissy about that because, was I fine? It was kind of yes and no because I was processing the news and had decided I wasn’t going to hide this like a dirty secret. I was going to own it, be as positive as I could, and get the hell through it.
And thanks to my friends and family, especially my husband that is what I have done.
Has it been an easy journey? No. Sometimes it has been damn hard and some days sad and lonely. I have lost other friends to breast cancer and other cancers along the way and I have felt those losses keenly and acutely. And survivor’s guilt has reared its ugly head here and there.
A friend recently celebrated her 25th cancerversary. She said if she could get there, essentially she was looking forward to celebrating my 25th with me in 15 years. Yes, more goals. Goals I am happy to work towards and will be delighted to meet. My actual cancerversary is June 1st.
Breast Cancer has been one of the hardest things in my life, and oddly one of the best and most freeing. In spite of all the things that have been challenges, it freed me to be a better version of myself.
I called my surgeon’s office just now to leave her a message. I could tell from the person’s voice when they first answered the phone and I said who I was and that I was a former patient that they were afraid I was going to tell them bad news. And I said look all I’m doing is calling to say thank you. It was a year ago this afternoon that she made a call to me from out of town to make sure I heard the news from her and no one else. She was calm and caring and straightforward. On this day 10 years ago, I needed exactly that.
I don’t have a crystal ball I don’t know what the future will bring. I know I worry too much about things post breast cancer that is one of the detractors, but I’m still here. And I am grateful.
I am not celebrating my 10 year anniversary of survival today because that’s not until June 1 and I don’t want to jinx myself. But today is the anniversary of the day that I really officially started on this journey.
I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for 10 years and you all have been reading it for 10 years. What a crazy ride it has been especially through this COVID19 world in which we live.
Thank you for being a part of my journey and I hope you have a beautiful and blessed day.