I hope everyone had a great Christmas!
With being a few months post operation and the outcome of that, I am still in shock with where I am at in life right now. Truly enjoying life! I still catch myself thinking if this is really happening, that I am a cancer survivor or is this still a dream. Regardless, it is a blessing where I am at in my journey and in life. Getting out there and living life the last handful of months has truly been the best. Traveling and getting out there has made me feel so alive. It has been so good not to have any worry going on in my head about health related things and it has been feeling so good to just be living! I truly have so much to be thankful for. Two years of my life I was so focused on saving it on top of grieving the loss of my dad and what I needed to do to stay alive as long as I could. I wanted to kick cancers ass so bad. I wanted to hear the words NED and that you are a survivor so bad. I wasn’t sure if that was even an option for me then because in all honesty, it wasn’t. As the time went on, I started to realize my life moving forward was about cancer and what I needed to do to stay alive. I thought I will never really enjoy life again as a “normal” person because I would be living life trying to stay alive and to feel good when I could. Now, I have done just that! I am living life and enjoying it because I have kicked cancers ass. This time last year, I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life and in my cancer life. Very depressed and I never have felt that before. I felt very alone. I didn’t know how to handle it or deal with what was going on. I needed help. Even to this day, I cannot believe I am where I am at in life and that I came out on top! I was dealing with a very scary side effect from the immunotherapy I was on at the time and on a medication that really flipped my world for the worse. Although, that time also brought out a lot of truth that I was holding in for so long. I didn’t hold anything back or hold my true feeling in anymore. I guess you can say I had diarrhea of the mouth! From then to now, I have worked on finding me again, finding my place in this world, and finding my voice. Being true to myself 100% and living life how I want to, not how others wanted me too. I am learning to not worry about what others think and just speaking my truth. Regardless, it is about me and only me! There for sure has been major ups and downs and a lot of learning on the way. I am sure I will never stop learning about life and I am totally okay with that. I know I am doing a great job with dealing with it all. I mean, the last two years I have gone through a lot of shit. Cancer sucks on so many levels. Right now, I’ve been taking time to find who I truly am as a women, as a cancer survivor, and finding out what my wants and needs are. Learning how to live life how I want to and do it with the people who I truly want to share it with.
Life with cancer and life after cancer is difficult. Life after cancer, you are finding your “new” identity, who you are as a person that isn’t fighting for their life, where you belong and don’t belong, and you find those individuals who truly are there for you through it all. People have come and gone in my life. I have learned the real truth about some individuals in my life that I may have never really learned until I was diagnosed. I have learned there are certain individuals who are meant to only be in your life during a period of time and that is okay. I am living life again and damn does it feel good! I do not have countless doctors appointments like it was for me the last two years, but I do have some to make sure the cancer stays far away. I still have that thought in the back of my mind that my cancer can come back because honestly, it very well could. BUT, I try to focus on what is going on now which is, I am NED and that I am a cancer survivor. However, that will always be in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, there is no switch you can turn off in your brain to never think I wont have cancer again, because I could. Right now, I am a survivor living life one day at a time, enjoying every moment, surrounding myself with the people who matter most to me, and who encourage me to be the best version of the “new” me. This isn’t easy or a walk in the park. It is scary, challenging, emotional on every level, and it is so very frightening. That is life though, especially when you are hit with the cancer card.
With the season of life I am in, figuring out this “new life” of mine, you do realize a lot about yourself, the people in your life, and about life in general. For me, I have realized and learned about the individuals who will always have my back, who I can always lean on, who has my best interest, who always are there for me no matter what, who always truly wants to know how I am doing or handling things, and who are always there for me no matter what changes occur. When I was first diagnosed, I had people who I haven’t talked to in years all of a sudden pop up in my life once I was diagnosed. Some of those individuals still have kept in touch and to me, that means so much, but some have drifted away. It does make me think if those individuals really only reached out because I had cancer. It does happen. If I never did have cancer, I don’t know if those individuals and I would have ever talked again. Who really knows! Who really cares! I have learned about some individuals who I thought were a huge part of my life for a long time and who I thought would be there for me through everthing have drifted away. Some of those individuals I still do not talk to to this day and some I have slowly started talking to again. I have also learned that there are individuals that have come into my life that I have realized are only meant to be in my life for a period of time. For a season of life. I am learning that all of this is okay. Regardless, I have learned that I am the most important person to myself and in my life. I have learned that those individuals who have been there for me through it all and have never drifted away are my true cheerleaders. Even now that I am a cancer survivor, I am learning about individuals who were involved in my cancer life quite a bit aren’t so much involved in my life now that I kicked cancers ass. It’s very interesting how life works and how the different seasons of life with cancer or not with cancer can change.
It is interesting how people can come and go in ones life though. I recently got together with a friend and we talked about this. We have different stories as to how this relates to our lives, yet we both understood the feeling. She dealt with a divorce and realized because of that, certain people drifted away and people who she thought were solid people in her life were no longer that anymore. My situation is that I had cancer, not a divorce, but I sure can relate to my friend on this 100%. It is sad and almost heartbreaking to think when something traumatizing happens in your life, people who you thought were always there for you could easily one day not be. However, I am truly learning in this new life of mine, that is life and people will come and go, but the true solid people will always stay around.
Life after cancer, there is so much learning to do! Lots of ups and downs. It’s more challenging mentally than physically whereas fighting cancer is both physically and mentally challenging to the extreme. It has been interesting, emotional, but very rewarding in some crazy way. Be brave has been my motto from day one and will continue to be my motto the rest of my life. Thanks to my oldest niece! If I ever forget that, I have my wrist to remind me because it is permanently on my body now. I am taking one day at a time along with enjoying every moment. I will soon return to work and honestly, I am looking forward to that. A part of me is freaking out I’ll be honest because it has been awhile, but I am looking forward to finding my “new normal” again. Get back into a more normal routine that does not consist of going to the hospital every other week for treatment and dealing with the nasty side effects. I will still always worry about the cancer I once had because I will be going in every three month to make sure nothing has changed, but so far, nothing has and I am still living that NED life. I know though every time I go in for a scan/bloodwork to make sure all is well, I will have anxiety also know as scanxiety. It is just the name of the game as you are waiting for those results and that call from your doctor hoping for the best news, but a part of you does think the worse regardless because we are human. Plus, that is all I have known the last two years of my life is cancer and how shitty it is. Right now though, I will continue to enjoy life and continue doing what is best and right for me. You are your biggest advocate!
It sure feels really good to enjoy the holiday season this year and do the things I truly enjoy during this time! I hope you all have an amazing holiday season and I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for a new year and a new decade. Bring on 2020!
I have received questions about keeping my port or not. I do have a choice to keep it in or get it removed. It does seem like once someone goes from being a “cancer patients” to a “cancer survivors” living that NED life, that is usually the step to take. To take out that port. Some see it as a negative reminder of what they have been through and want it out immediately. Or it’s annoying to have it in. I totally respect that because it so can. For me, it has become a part of me. I’ve had this port named Betty for the last two years of my life. It has saved my veins and as stubborn as Betty is, she has been the best. No issues and no problems have occurred. (Knock on wood) With that being said, I see my port as a positive thing in my body and something that has helped me in so many ways. I am actually not ready to say goodbye to her! I am all about using my port for everything and for me it’s quick and painless. No bruising involved. I am also not the biggest fan of getting poked in my arms and having my blood draw the “normal way”. So – for me, my port experience has been something I have not taken for granite. I am not sure how long I will keep it in for, but right now, it’s staying! With keeping it in, I do have to get is flushed every 4-6 weeks regardless to make sure there are no issues along with no blockage going on. I have no problem keep up with flush appointments because I also enjoy seeing the people in the office as well.
So to me, it’s a win win!