Last year on this date, August 29, I actively began my fight against cancer.
For me, this is a better "cancerversary" than the day I was diagnosed. A lot of people, including doctors, will say you become a survivor the day you are diagnosed. I like that a lot, because from that day on, surviving becomes your number one goal. However, who wants to "celebrate" the day you were told you have cancer? There are so many twists and turns - some people have surgery but no further treatment. Some have chemo before surgery, some have it after. Some have to endure years of treatment. When do you ever reach the point where you can look around and say, "I did it!". For me, finishing eight rounds of chemo was a big deal. The surgery that removed the tumors was a big deal. Six weeks of daily radiation was a big deal. Those were all just steps along the way, though. None of them mark the end of the journey, because I'm still on that journey!
But the day I put on my "stupid dumb breast cancer" shirt and started to poison the cancer cells in my body? Yeah, I'm down with celebrating that. I've carried the knowledge of having cancer with me since last July. Officially I found out on August 1st. But waking up today, I realize that an entire year - three hundred and sixty-five days - of kicking cancer's ass has come and gone.
Burdened by fear, overwhelmed with questions, swamped with emotions, and loaded down with chemo gear, Hubby and I headed to the cancer center for my first chemo infusion. As I think back on that day, I am saddened by the fact that the cold caps didn't work for me. Yes, I have hair again, and most people say it's cute. But I wanted to keep the hair I had. Just like I wanted to keep the breasts I had. I am extremely grateful that I don't have to face the red devil again. Instead of the mouth sores, nausea, constipation, bone pain and extreme fatigue I was beginning to face on a regular basis, my biggest complaints now are discomfort from my surgery and hot flashes from chemo/menopause. My body doesn't look like my body, and my body doesn't feel like my body...I have some fake parts, some missing parts and a lot of scars.... but I'm here, alive and well.
What a difference a year makes.
I talked to Hubby about a month ago about my blog and about how long I would keep posting daily. I honestly don't know the answer. When I was actively going through treatment and had so much going on, I always had something to write about. I had a hard time finding the energy to write about things, but the posts came easy. Now that my doctor appointments are spreading out, my side effects are lessening and things are slowly, slowly getting back closer to normal, I don't know that I have something important to share every single day.
I do know one thing... whether I post every day, every week or just whenever the heck I feel like it, the subject is still going to be "Kicking cancer's ass". Breast cancer isn't a street fight or a sprint... it's a war - an epic battle that I will fight for the rest of my life, and I'll do it taking one day at a time.