12 years ago, I started this blog. 12 years and two 2 days ago, I received a diagnosis of invasive lobular breast cancer.
So it’s been 12 years one breast cancer, surgery, one full hysterectomy, two knee surgeries, a handful of Mohs surgeries for skin cancer and here I am.
Lately I have been thinking about the years. They have flown by. I am one of the lucky ones. When I began this journey, I was an observer of a sisterhood I admired, but wasn’t yet a part of. And if I am honest, it’s still not the sisterhood any woman would choose. It’s like it chooses us whether by genetics or fate.
When I started this journey, I wasn’t yet 50. Now I’m almost 60. I turn 59 soon, actually.
Recently I have been fighting a blue phase. As women I think as we age we wonder about our place in the pace of life. When we are younger we also wonder about our place in the pace of life . What is it about being a woman that makes us wonder about our place in the pace of life so often?
I am not depressed per se so no one needs to freak out. It’s just a thing. It is like the Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime”:
…And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”…
Life just goes by so fast.
I have a really hard time with funerals still. Even if it’s not a cancer death. It’s survivor’s guilt. I am here, others aren’t. Even if they were much older than me. It’s such a weird thing, but it’s real.
So every once in a while I have a weird phase. I have experienced it since I received my diagnosis on April 28, 2011. And it generally speaking happens now. This year a few days straight of rain haven’t helped.
I am so grateful to be here, to be able to talk about this, to be able to garden, enjoy my family and my life. But wow once in a while here I am. Betwixt and between. I think a show on Netflix has really done it to me this time.
Firefly Lane. And the series is based on a book that takes inspiration from the author’s life.
It’s love and loss and enduring friendship and more. It’s something that everyone who has had cancer or known or loved someone with cancer you will identify with it. I thought it was beautiful and I loved it. But it hit a little close to home and oh I cried. So now I write.
It’s funny when you look at me 12 years ago exactly in this moment, I feel like I was such a different person. Only I’m still the same person. If that makes any sense.
I still feel that breast cancer freed me to be a better version of myself. It liberated me from things holding me back, mostly myself. A lot of stuff lives in our head. It builds up. Then you are diagnosed with breast cancer and it’s like the pause button comes down. Boom. Everything changes. And so do you.
Some swirl into a circle of darkness with a cancer diagnosis. You do have to work to stay positive. Some days are better than others when this all starts. It’s overwhelming and frustrating and that doesn’t even include the bullshit that our healthcare system puts us through.
And then you are through it. But you are never the same. And sometimes your mind wanders. Then you remember: you’re still here. And THAT is the best thing I have to tell all of you: the quiet realization that sometimes you need to remind yourself of: you’re still here.
Life is a journey. Pay attention to the ride.