One of the biggest challenges when I first learned I had cancer was trying to stay positive. It would have been easy to retreat, to become depressed and focus on the shitty situation I was in. But after the initial shock and denial, I knew I had to dig deep and focus on whatever positive I could find.
One way I was able to do this was by not overwhelming myself and breaking down my treatment. Instead of viewing how many more rounds of chemo I had left, each treatment was one more closer to being done. Instead of being sad about the loss of my breasts, the mastectomy was one more step in helping to get rid of this cancer.
I’ve had some setbacks along the way including a recent infection and unplanned surgery that has delayed my breast reconstruction. I was disappointed we missed our chance to go to a Phillies game the day my incision opened up but what was more important was getting treatment right away to remove the infection which is what we did.
I know I now live with a lot of anxiety and fear of recurrence of cancer and I know I need to stay on top of my health more than ever. I eventually need my ovaries out but may be able to wait a little before this is done so I get some break in this seemingly unending and difficult and exhausting year. But even with that, the hardest part is behind me. I got through the chemo and mastectomy and now don’t even worry about the remaining surgeries needed for the breast reconstruction. Those are minor compared to what I have been through already.
I learned to appreciate the little things and life even more. My kids are my world and I made sure to keep them as my focus to help me get through all the treatments and surgeries.
I learned there is still a lot of good in the world. The kind messages, comments and offers to help from people I have been blessed to cross paths with at some point in my life has been so overwhelming and touching. I am truly grateful for all the people I have interacted with over the years.
This cancer journey has been anything but easy, but I learned to focus on the positive and small things to get through. I had no choice, I had five special reasons that needed me and gave me the positive to focus on. The support from so many family and friends add to the positive I have been able to find on this journey.
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