Today, I find myself sitting in the waiting room at Moffitt Cancer Center, reflecting on the last two years, so many feelings come over me, especially when you are waiting for tumor markers after three months. I am proud of myself and my family for getting through the last two years. ...even if there is a moment or two when a thought will come to mind and all I can think is; My God, what the hell just happened to us!! but I am happy to say, We have survived.
Two years ago I was going to a new Doctor for back pain. Because it was my first appointment with Dr. P she
completed an entire physical. On my way out, she asked about any other concerns. I explained to her that my armpit felt strange, almost swollen. ( which, at the time it really wasn't normal for me to mention things that I thought were little) Thank God, the first of many. Dr. P pulled me back in and did more exams,. I left that day on antibiotics because I was within months of stopping breast feeding. After two weeks, my lymph nodes were still swollen. She sent me to get a mammogram and ultra sound. She just wanted to be 100% sure that it was nothing. All I can say is Thank God (again) that I switched doctors to Dr. P., who really listened. After the mammogram time flew; surgeon, biopsy, oncologist,and scans.
I had a week or so to get use to the idea and accepting the diagnosis when we meant my oncologist, Dr. B. for the second time. That day, I had my moment. ..That moment that life stands still, that moment that you know that life will never be the same again. I thought I had that moment a week prior, but even those first words of "you have cancer" actually were topped. Dr. B proceeded to tell me that day that the double mastectomy would be cancelled, because the pet scan showed that the breast cancer had moved to places on my spine. I had moved from being curable to Stage IV with the goal of prolonging my life. ...on a positive note, I was estrogen positive and Her 2 positive, the most aggressive forms, but they are also the ones that respond the best to treatment. It didn't sound like a positive then, but it sure is. Talk about being kicked when you are already down. I felt like I didn't even have a chance, 35 (to young for preventative mammogram) and no lumps to feel so I could have caught it early.
Two years ago this week, when most of my friends and coworkers were getting ready to start the grind of the next three weeks with students before the Christmas break, I found myself with a blanket, bag filled with books and other goodies sitting in a room staring at 25 other people and getting my IV hooked up. Little did I know that once the Benadryl hit my system, I would be out cold for the next 5 hours. After, my brother, flew down and my family and coworkers all took care of so many things for us. Support, Love, Prayer and Hope are the most beautiful things on this earth, and my family was lucky enough to feel all of it.
So, I find myself sitting here today, in remission, two years later getting Herceptin hooked into my port, (Every three weeks and a tamoxifen pill everyday). Now I understand, I did have my chance, to catch up with this thing, and I did! The NEW goal is to stay ahead of it. I am lucky, and I recognize this everyday. I will have this treatment the rest of my life, but I am thankful that it is there because of so many donations and all of the research. I think about my cancer everyday. Most days I try to make it just that, a thought, and then I go on with chasing the kids around. I try to worry about how good life is, Today! So, can I say that Cancer is a gift like some others? No, and never will, I refuse to give it that amount of power;
But what I can say for sure, two years into this new life, is that there is life after, and it is sweet, and it feels good to live it.