How lucky am I?

2 celebrations this weekend.  My birthday is Saturday the 3rd and my 1 year Cancerversary is Sunday the 4th.  (Another new word for you…cancerversary.  You’re welcome.)

It’s really more like 1 celebration and 1 date that brings memories flooding to my mind.

Like most families, we have some back to school traditions and with each one this year, came the thought, “I had no idea this time last year that I would be fighting cancer the ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR AND SUMMER!.”

EACH TIME.  EACH EVENT.  EACH SHOPPING TRIP.  EACH THOUGHT OF SCHOOL.  EACH DAY I thought this!

I’m emotionally exhausted.

From my experience with grieving the loss of my Mom, the time leading up to important days is usually harder than the actual day (with the exception of Mother’s Day).  I’m hoping that’s the case or on Sunday I’m going to be a mess!

Here’s what keeps coming to mind:

Last year on the second day of school I had my appointment with my primary care Dr.  2 days later I had my mammogram and immediately found out I had breast cancer (the day after my birthday.)  I went into the mammogram apt. by myself, expecting to find out the same news as the previous year – nothing is wrong.  Instead, I got news that changed my life forever.  “In my professional opinion, the tumor looks malignant.  I hope I’m wrong, but I see this all the time and am pretty sure I’m not.  I’m so sorry.”

I managed to pull myself together enough to get out to the car.  I remember exactly where I was parked in the parking lot as I sat and made a couple appointments and then called Tom. I was in total shock.  I had not prepared myself for bad news.  It seemed like forever (but probably only about 45 minutes), until I met Tom at the mall and we cried in each other’s arms.

Happy Cancerversary to me. 🙁

Looking at it differently…I’m still here a year later.

I’ve survived a breast biopsy, breast MRI, PET scans, Port placement surgery, chemo, a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, an oophorectomy, radiation, bone strengthening infusions, countless Dr. appointments, and am currently living day by day evaluating each ache and pain to see if it’s a side effect from the hormone blocking drug, or just a normal ache or pain.

WOW!  That’s a lot!  Not only did I survive those things, I feel pretty good.

(And I blogged about it all.  I love that!!)

During the year I’ve struggled with depression and have had sore cheek muscles from smiling so much.

Some days I’ve felt great.  Other days, it was all I could do to get out of bed to use the restroom.

But it’s one year later and by the grace of God, I’m still here.

I am thankful!

I’m thankful for a closer relationship with the Lord.

I’m thankful for all the amazing people God has brought into my life and has drawn me closer to this past year because of my fight with cancer.

I’m thankful to feel good enough to take my kids back to school shopping.

I’m thankful to feel good enough to enjoy an amusement park all day long with my family.

I’m thankful for one more day as a daughter, mom and wife.

You will never know how much each card, email, text, gift, hug, coffee, babysitting, house cleaning and meal meant to our family this past year.  Thank you supporting us and for continuing to support us as this fight is not over.

So if you think of me on Sunday, please thank God for bringing us through this past year.  Also please pray for a day full of great memories and that I will be able to enjoy my family.

(A quick update on the side effects from the hormone blocking pill I started last week:  After the past few days, I do think I’m having minor bone pain as I hurt, but not like I have the flu.  I hurt from the inside out.  My skin doesn’t hurt to touch, but yet my body aches. It’s very strange.  It’s not so bad that it’s stopping me from doing anything, but I don’t feel great…just ok.  I’m curious how the next few weeks will play out on this drug.  I’ll keep you posted)

Oh…and it’s my birthday tomorrow.  Happy 42nd birthday to me.  Please send all gifts to…lol…just kidding.  🙂  We are looking forward to going bowling and out to dinner as a family!  I hope I don’t lose…I’m pretty bad at bowling.

Always something to be thankful for…

Jennifer

 

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