So this post is hard for me to write. It is hard sometimes for me to be so damn honest about the reals ins and outs of being a mom, a wife, a cancer something -- because I still just do not know what I am in terms of cancer. Am I a former cancer patient? Am I a cancer patient, present tense? I just do not know.
I do know that last year I was diagnosed and everything changed. I focused on keeping one foot in front of the other, working when I had my job and being as present as I could be for the kids and my family despite the fact that there were times I was scared and I had no voice and I could not understand how/why this happened to me...
As I have said before, I got over the whole pity party as quick as I could. I had help, I had someone who had been through it before who without, I would not have made it. Lori is the name of my sherpa and she is still a part of my life, though we still have yet to meet in person.
When I started at Sloan, I was given the option to join a "patient helpline" program (cannot remember what it was called) and anyway, that day I said, "yes" I was called by Lori. Her first words to me were, "Welcome to the club you never wanted to join!" I remember sitting on the phone with her even though I had to drive from my first consult on Staten Island to go home.
I had yet to even set foot into Sloan but here was this lifeline, someone who had been through it before as I knew no one who had had breast cancer.
She promised me she would be there for me every step of the way and she was and continues to be even now; I was her first patient that she helped through the entire process and she continues to help me and others. She is my sherpa, my angel. She has been there for me at 2am or at 5pm. She is the one who inspired and actually taught me the tips for treatment blog post tricks-for-treatment.html and vlog.
As I continue to navigate this world of "in between" I think about how stressed I can let myself get. My husband has been sick for weeks, my dad is here with me recovering from his near death experience, I have two kids and a dog and myself to care for while job hunting and recovering from the year that "changed it all". I want to say to you reading that you can have gratitude and still be stretched so thin that you just want to yell.
This is how I feel today. I am so damn lucky that I can do the things I need to do and that, theoretically, I am NED (no evidence of disease). I plan to / hope to stay that way. I had a bad experience with a local gastro doctor who did an endoscopy and diagnosed me with like 4 things that would be massive if I had them (and oh I would have some massive symptoms) and in calling the office in fear, I was told by them and the doctor that everyone gets diagnosed with these things. Also, some biopsies were taken but I am assured from a friend who is an endo nurse that these are quite common.
Having been through the cancer workout, I know I need to keep it out of my body, out of all of my other organs at all cost because if I do not, I wind up incurable and just about given a death sentence. The only type of breast cancer people die from is the kind that spreads. So with every test, with every doctors appointment, I open myself up to fear. So instead, I have to focus and think about the good. Think about the lack of control and let it go where it must. Because I cannot control it, truly.
1/3 of all breast cancer patients wind up metatastic regardless of staging. So someone with stage 1 can be "cured" and then wind up with Stage 4. We need funding and I need to think about how I can help with that.
For now, though, I have to remember when I get stressed, when I get overwhelmed, that I have to think about how badly I wanted this "normalcy" back and how much things can change in an instant. God willing, we all stay / get healthy, I find a job to keep busier and life continues to move. I do not want to forget my lessons - I am not in control but I know how to put my fears someplace else. To let them sit someplace else. It is quite "nice" to be able to get overwhelmed and not have it be about death, if you know what I mean?
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