Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Calm After The Storm

Hearing the diagnosis of "you have breast cancer" was something I never saw coming.  I even remember thinking at times that would be something I would never have to face.   How closed minded can one actually be????  Really?!

After a routine mammogram showed an area of concern in my left breast, my life was quickly turned upside down.  I found myself in the eye of the storm....a raging storm that I would weather for months.  There were days when the clouds were dark and dreary but I tried to never lose site of my blessings.  My blessings are what gave me all I needed (and then some) to make it through!

One of the things that I have learned most from "my storm" was how much it changed me as a person.  I found strength and courage inside that I never knew existed. I found a sense of self that I cherish. I like the "new" me as I have a new respect for myself and my life.

So,  when future storms come rolling in (and they will).  I plan to put on my rain boots and dance in the rain.  I promise myself to always, always look for rainbows.  They're ALWAYS out there and well worth waiting for.  I'll also remember we all have our storms in life, some are Spring showers and others are hurricanes. However, they always pass.....everything always does.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finding closure with cancer

I have come to realize that finding closure with breast cancer takes a very long time;  one probably never has complete closure.   I am 15 months out since my diagnosis and I think I have found very small increments of feeling a  release at times. I don't think it is possible to actually put something like cancer behind you. Perhaps that is o.k. as well. 

Initially I thought that after healing from surgery and chemo, I would be able to move forward with my life and never look back.  Today I realize that is not possible for me and probably not healthy either.
The scars are deep both physically and emotionally.  To ignore them would be a dishonor to my being.

However, I refuse to allow breast cancer to consume my life.  Even if one survives the dreaded disease, if it takes over every waking moment, who is the victor?  Breast cancer is funny like that.  It can take your life in a physical sense AND can take your life in an emotional sense as well.  I refuse to give something  like "invasive duct carcinoma" my joy.  Rather, I will take from it! I will take great resolve, strength, courage, determination, joy, hope and faith. I will take and take and I will be the victor! 

Today I am told I have a 80% survival rate. I think I have 100%!!!!! I am here today and in this moment; when its all said and done, isn't that all that really matters?   So, today the sky is a little bluer, the birds sing just a bit louder, my hope  is high.  My strength, faith, and courage have been tested. I am the victor! 

Now I know, without a doubt, that there will be more trials and tribulations down the road.  It might not be cancer as each new day brings challenges all its own.  Even the bible tells us to take it one day at a time.  Dealing with breast cancer forces you to do just that.  When we can live in the moment and focus on the day at hand, it brings peace to our souls.

So as I write about my journey, it brings healing and closure. The other day I threw away some pamphlets and magazines that were some of my "teaching tools" in dealing with chemo. As I threw them in the trash, I felt a bit of release. It was small but still a bit of letting go.  So, I'll take it where I can get it.  I'll do it in a way that works for me. I'll do it one moment at a time, one day at a time until one day I'll reach that 5 year mark when I can be declared a true survivor!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day 2011 has come and gone. I attempted to cook Terry one of his favorite meals but he ended up in the kitchen himself. He wanted pinto (soup) beans, fried salmon patties, and corn bread.  I baked him a spice cake w/cream cheese frosting (duncan hines)....It really looked quite pitiful! He is so kind and assured me it was delicious.
The kiddos came out to spend time with their dad; I know they both love and appreciate him so much as they should!

I found myself thinking of my dad so many times today.  Its days like today that I miss him very much. Holidays, birthday and anniversaries are the most difficult. He's been gone several years now (5 to be exact) and its really hard to believe that I'll never see him again in this physical life.

I find comfort in knowing that he is and always will be a huge part of who I am; I have memories of so long ago....another time when I was a little girl and he was my hero. I would follow him everywhere and stand in his shadow.  He called me "Pea". I'm not sure why unless I was so small.  I absolutely craved his attention and praise. 

He was a tall and lanky man with dark hair and eyes. He told corny jokes and liked to pull pranks on myself and my siblings. He liked to garden; he also liked animals. He always had several dogs it seems. He had chickens and doves.  He was dad. His name was Henry. I know he loved me so very much and I am eternally grateful for that.  

So, Henry know that your little "Pea" is thinking of you on this Father's Day and giving thanks for having you for my dad. I appreciate you and all you've brought into my life.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Beginning To Blog

So, I finally sat down and set up a blog account; I'm really not sure if this is something I will enjoy and pursue but at least I have taken the first steps. I have always kept journals and enjoyed writing; however, in the past, it has always been a very private part of my life.  This, for me, will be like coming out of the closet. I think opening up will be the hardest thing to do. It will be a process but when you think about it, isn't everything in life just that....a process.

I am hopeful blogging will be like a healing balm; as I share my fears and frustrations, I will find a new norm for my life.  However, I know deep inside the new norm will never be "normal".  My life has now taken on new meaning that I never saw coming! I will forever be looking over my shoulder for that monster that we call breast cancer.

I have  completed the surgeries and chemo; the incisions have healed. My hair has grown out again; although it is now a natural color of salt and pepper. I really like it. I don't mind being gray!  So, now there is my life before cancer (BC) and after cancer (AC).  I look very different than I did only one year ago. I have changed so very much physically, as well as, emotionally. Its amazing what a difference one year can make in our lives.