Happy Cancer-versary to me!
December 12th: A date that is now forever ingrained in my head. Last year, this day was filled with tears, fear, anger, self-pity and devastation. It was a day that forced me to call upon an inner strength that I wasn't sure I even possessed, a day that I renewed my faith in God and a day that set me on a new course in life that would change me forever. It was the day that I was diagnosed with cancer.
Let me tell you, it's been a hell of a long and tiresome journey since last December when those dreadful words, "you have cancer" fell upon my distraught ears. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I'm not sorry to see this year come to an end. I have no fond memories of this past year undergoing treatment -- nor do I have any desire to recount the days of operating rooms and surgical drains or daily doses of radiation being zapped to my breast.
But, in all fairness, not everything about these last 366 days (yes, it was a leap year) were awful. There were some amazing things that happened as well. Like...oh, I don't know...destroying the cancer that was inside of me. Yeah, that was pretty awesome. And another thing -- believe it or not, was being diagnosed with this insidious disease. What? I know, it sounds crazy, but my sickness triggered a wake up call to a puffy-eyed, splotchy-faced woman who was down on her knees in a puddle of despair a year ago that life is a precious gift and I was given an incredible opportunity to fight for it. And, fight for it I did. So it's no wonder why on this day, my one year cancer-versary, I can't help but feel incredibly blessed and thankful for so many things, big and small. Here are just a few that are coming to mind...
The little things:
(1) Hair - I know, this one goes without saying. But, I have to add that I'm thankful to have enough of it that I'm able to lighten it and then curse myself for messing with it. No, seriously, to have "hair issues" again -- super cool.
(2) No longer needing super volume mascara to bring out the 3 remaining eyelashes on my lids.
(3) Eyebrows and tweezers -- I know, they seem to contradict each other, but let me explain. When I lost my eyebrows, I swore that when those bad boys grew back -- I would never pluck, tweeze or wax them again. The desire to put an end to all my eyebrow grooming was quickly dismissed when I began to look like this...
(4) Cooking an Eggo waffle and not wanting to hurl from the artificial blueberry smell that emanates from the toaster (holy artificialness!)
(5) Getting a paper cut and not fearing a night in the ER
(6) Not needing 8 pillows propped up in various positions to be able to sleep at night.
(7) Being able to lift my arm over my head to adjust the shower head. Don't laugh -- after my mastectomy I thought that I would never be able to perform this simple task again.
(8) Being able to use mouthwash with alcohol. I HATED Biotene -- seriously, I never physically got sick the whole time during chemo, but the use of this mouthwash had me kissing the porcelain tile. So thank you, Listerine Alcohol-Free mouthwash -- you spared me many mornings, afternoons and nights hovered over the toilet.
(9) The tiny scar on my chest from where my chemotherapy port once resided -- Man, that thing was hideous. Truly, I would have been fine if the nurses at Hopkins yanked that thing out after my last chemical cocktail.
|This little device is surgically implanted under your skin...yuck!|
(11) The cup of coffee that I pour for myself after the kids get on the bus. What makes that particular cup of joe so special? I get to curl up on MY sofa and enjoy it. No longer do I need to choke down a mug or pour it into a to-go cup because I have a date with a chemo lounge chair, hospital bed or radiation couch.
The big things:
(1) Hair. Yes, I know that I mentioned it before -- but, it's a big deal.
(2) Marrying a man who turned out not to be a Newt Gingrich or John Edwards (of course, there's a whole lot more about my amazing husband that I'm grateful for -- but, that would require a whole separate post...so let's just leave it at that). Love you, sweetie!
(3) The smiles, kisses, hugs, laughter and snuggles from three awesome kids (yes, I'm talking about my own) who made it easier to have one more bag of poison pushed into my veins and one more zap of radiation to my breast. It's such a privilege and an honor to be your mom -- love you, monkeys!
(3) A mom who found a way to "show up" to offer her love, encouragement and support every Thursday during chemotherapy and every day during radiation...
|You're the best, mom...love you!|
(5) Friends who don't take "no" for an answer. Whether it was an insistence to bring a meal, or to drive me to the hospital or to stay with them on a last minute trip to California.
|Love you, Cheryl Lvovsky!|
(7) All of the courageous woman battling this terrible disease who share their stories and inspire us with their kick ass attitudes...you ladies rock!
(8) Chemotherapy ports. Yes, I know that I just mentioned how much I hated mine -- but that was aesthetically speaking. Practically speaking, my port spared me a great deal of pain and strife in the later months of chemotherapy when my veins would have inevitably crapped out.
(9) Doctors and technology. I think the reasons for both are pretty clear and it's getting late -- so let me just say, if it weren't for both of them, I wouldn't be celebrating too many more cancer-versaries.
(10) The Almighty (aka God) -- too much to list. But let me be clear, I don't know how I would have survived this past year without the Big Man on my side.
I suppose that I should also include today, 12/12/12, to the list and the fact that we're all still here. Thankfully all of you doom and gloom, end of the world, soothsayers were incorrect. Although, in a way, this day does mark the end -- the end of a life where each day begins and ends with the dark clouds of cancer hovering over my head.
So here are my cancer-versary wishes (yes, I do get to make them...hey, my cancer - my rules): a year free of drugs with names that I can barely pronounce let alone spell, radiated leftovers as opposed to body parts, mammograms that come back clear and plunging necklines to show off my new cancer-free girls...
|Don't hate all my buxom friends with your complaints of sagging breasts -- you don't want to go through the year that I just did in order to get these lovelies.|
Happy Cancer-versary to me!!!