A year ago, this week, I walked into the doctor’s office for a follow up mammogram and she began offering me Ativan to help me sleep.
“Why,” I had asked, “Why do I need to go to sleep?” I was not fully comprehending the gravity of the situation. She was trying to tell me, even as I was being wheeled in for the needle biopsy, that she already knew by looking at the lump that it was cancerous. She recognized the irregular borders and could tell. So she was trying to tell me, but I wasn’t listening.
A year ago today my life was permanently altered.
A year ago today was the phone call, verifying the results — 2 lumps in th left breast,mastectomy needed. Of course as you all know, there were other bits of bad news along the way; but this week I celebrate the one year anniversary of my diagnosis.
I wish I felt like celebrating, but I don’t. I don’t feel lucky that they found the cancer even though I suppose that I should.You see, one of the more frustrating things about breast cancer, and probably many other kinds of cancer, is that a year ago I was not “sick”. A year ago I felt fine. I did not fall ill with cancer and then have them “fix” me. It actually feels more like they “broke” me. Aside from the obvious physical changes that have occurred over the year, the most disturbing outcome is my inability to take a deep breath. A year ago I could breathe, a year ago I was thinner, a year ago I had all my body parts, a year ago I had hair, a year ago I could string sentences together to make a cohesive paragraph, and remember people’s names.
….but what I have to remember is that a year ago I also had cancer.
In some respects it was a very fast year. I can’t believe that I sit on the other side of so many things I thought were impossible to handle — 3 surgeries and chemotherapy, to name a few. I suppose that is one blessing in getting old. Time truly does fly by faster as we age and when you have a year chalk full of heinous things, then I say “let it fly”; the faster the better.
So now we enter the 2nd year of my cancer story. I still have a long way to go. My next surgery is scheduled for January 7th. I will have a permanent implant installed (hopefully, since the temporary one is faulty) and I will have a little lift on the other side (Yippee). I am running a race on Sunday, probably my last for a while, since after the surgery I will be out of commission for some time.
Even before that I have to find out what is going on with my heart. Monday I have an ultrasound to see if my heart function has improved and then Wednesday I go back in to re-start the Herceptin. My gut feeling is that my heart has not improved and they will not start the Herceptin. I have been very short of breath lately. I can feel my heart doing some funky things. But we will wait and see what Cardio-Boy has to say; he is the expert.
So I hope you all have enjoyed the ride over the past year,hang on tight though, stay seated, there is much more fun to come.