My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

03 May 2014

Are we there yet?

The silence on this blog over the past couple months wasn't because I had nothing to say. There's ALWAYS something to say. But about half way through my chemo treatments, some time in February, my energy level dipped so low I barely had enough to get through my days ... let alone sit and think through a blog post. Even today, I don't know how clear I'll be. And I'm afraid I'm already using too many commas. I'm also afraid I'll try to cover too much ground in this one post ... a lot has happened in the past couple months. But I'll try and get my foggy mind to focus a bit ...

Almost exactly 48 hours ago I emerged from breast reconstructive surgery. The doctors said I did really well. Its nice to know I'm cooperative and strong, even when I'm unconscious. They sent me home bandaged up like a mummy, with the doctors notes in permanent ink still visible on my chest. I can't shower until after my doctor's appointment next Wednesday. Fortunately I have no hair to wash or worry about, and I don't intend on leaving the house in my mummy costume anyway. Last time we did this I had to wait THREE WEEKS to shower, and I had hair to worry about. So a little one-week stint of baby wipe baths doesn't scare me. I'll just pile on extra deodorant when necessary.

As I started to really pull out of the anesthesia on Thursday morning, I found myself tearing up. And for the rest of the day, as it really hit me what stage of "fighting cancer" I had reached, I couldn't help but let the tears come.

I made it. I made it through hard decisions, major surgery, chemotherapy, the loss of my hair, more chemotherapy, doctor's appointments, blood tests, serious lack of energy, digestive issues I won't go into, my nails separating from their nail beds, my eyebrows getting thinner and thinner and thinner, another surgery ... and then ... it's all over. Just like that. I'm done. All I have left to do is recover, heal, and move on. It's almost surreal, how quickly I've moved from "fighting cancer," to "cancer survivor."

Oh, I still have another month before my hair will start growing in. And, I have to wait four weeks before I can pick up my kids. The oncologist said to give it six months before I really feel like myself again, with all my energy back and those drugs fully out of my system. And I imagine there are some frustrating times right around the corner, as waiting for these things will be hard. But, again, it really is the end. Healing may take a while, but it's all that's left to do. I can't hardly believe I've actually reached the end. I beat cancer.

After all the work of the past 8 months, I think I might take the summer off.

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