A day I will never forget. I was taking a shower like any other day. A drop of blood changed my life forever.
So many things have happened since then, it seems like a different life altogether. What has happened?
Well, a year has passed. What does that mean? As a wonderful song from the Broadway show "Rent" puts it - Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure a year in the life?
I had two mastectomies, three reconstructive surgeries, chemotherapy, lost my hair and some nails along with a bunch of other inconveniences. None of that was easy, no sugar coating that, but hey- it could have been much harder. I feel blessed that it wasn't.
All of these things are minor in the greater scheme of things. I went from having cancer to being cancer free. There are no better words in the English language than "Cancer Free" when you have cancer.
So, how do I feel about it? Let's look at this from the perspective of the year as a learning experience. I love to learn things.
What have I learned in the past year:
- Thoughts like "Woe is me" and "Why me" have no point, waste time and energy.
- Family and friends really do lift you up and give you the ability to get through anything.
- I missed my work when I didn't have it in my daily life. No matter how much I say I wouldn't do it if I were independently wealthy, I now appreciate how much I enjoy what I do for a living more than ever.
- Sometimes it takes a horrible course of events to get you to something you really wanted all along. I wanted a breast reduction after all. It just took me a major diagnosis make it happen. That was definitely a bonus.
- I hated making my family worry more than any other experience I had this past year. I pray I never have to do that to them again.
- I am stronger than I ever imagined.
- I love the new me. Scars, imperfect, whatever- it is all me and I earned it.
Fast forward to November 8, 2014
I spent this day in a much different way than I did the day a year ago.
Last year I spent the day worrying about what I very quickly realized would turn out to be a new cancer diagnosis.
This year was a blast. I spent the day with two of my children in New York City- one of our very favorite past times. Just hanging out in the city for the day.
What a difference a year makes.