3 years ago, it was a Tuesday (& not just a random Tuesday)… my life was changing. I was getting ready to have lumpectomy surgery the next day. My thoughts were consumed with cancer treatment and recovery (& bills and how to manage time off from work). I remember thinking that I would always feel the impact of cancer, but also wanting to fight it & get rid of it. I remember certain strange things and not others. Now, I have to do math to remember how long it’s been. Someday, it will be 10 years ago, then 20. The date of the surgery is easy to remember because it’s my sister’s birthday. I’m pretty sure she used her birthday wish on me that year (thanks, Marla!)
I know I have written about it each year, but in case you don’t feel like going back through my blog posts and CaringBridge sites, I’ll give you some highlights. My surgery was early on a Wednesday morning. I wore my pink fuzzy pajama top with buttons & brought my pink boxing gloves and my biggest cheerleader (my husband). He wore his camel T-shirt that said “Hump Day.” It made several people laugh & some people roll their eyes. I remember having to have the wire guided procedure with not enough pain killer. I remember laughing so hard with Cameron in the waiting room that I thought we’d get kicked out. I remember the long ride to the surgery room & how cold it was in there. I remember waking up groggy, bandaged and with a dry mouth. I remember puking in the elevator. I remember seeing Cam and my sister, Marie. (Since she’s a nurse, she gets to come along & interpret medical stuff for most of us. Plus she’s a prayer warrior & generally an awesome person.) I remember telling Cam that I wanted to “bust out of the hospital,” which made him laugh – given the recent surgery. 😉 After keeping some crackers down and proving I could pee on my own, I was released.
No driving for a week, drink lots of water, check the two surgery sites, keep ahead of the pain… I remember those directions. I think I mainly used Advil & Tylenol because I’m not a fan of painkillers. It felt like the world around me was going fast and I was in slow motion. My boys were 12 & 8. Sometimes I forget how hard that must have been on them… how scary to have your mom go through cancer when you’re that young. I tried to be extra tough for them, so they would know that I was going to be OK. Sometimes I forget how hard it was on my husband, my sisters, my parents… there isn’t much they could do to make me better. But they were there for me and supported me.
I met with a breast cancer survivor shortly after I was done with radiation. She told me that eventually, you won’t think about it every day. Eventually normal will return. She was right. Now I have to do math to remember how long it’s been. I’m beyond thankful for all I’ve learned over the last 3 years. I’m thankful for feeling the power of prayer. I’m thankful for my voice – to be my own advocate for my health. I’m thankful for this journey, because through it all, I’m learning that I am enough. Just as I am. Always. You are too!