This morning I did my first pink walk as a survivor. I still feel nervous and uncomfortable saying survivor. I know the next five years are critical and I am still very worried about my health. But today was about walking and enjoying some wine to celebrate what I have been through and overcome. We also continue to walk in memory of Grandma.
I didn’t have the chance to process what being a survivor meant during the walk today as I focused on herding five kids through the vineyard and away from taking too much cheese at the three wine tasting stops along the way.
I realized I’ve never had time to really process all I have been through. I was in survival mode, just going through whatever I had to hopefully end up cancer free, which thankfully I was declared following my mastectomy.
I never had time to process the weight of this all because I underwent half of my chemo while pregnant and with four kids ages seven and under. I underwent the second half of chemo with five kids including a newborn. And then had a double mastectomy three weeks after finishing chemo. And then needed another surgery seven weeks after that following a staph infection and post op complication.
Looking back I realize damn that was a lot. How the hell did I get through? I luckily had a lot of support from family and friends. I luckily had an amazing medical team that helped me get started on treatment right away and worked together to ensure my baby and I got the best possible care. I luckily had five wonderful kids who kept me focused on doing whatever I needed to get through.
So today I walked with confidence and pride that I survived the hell I went through. It was not easy. I still remain worried about recurrence and my health. I still have two more surgeries related to my breast reconstruction. I eventually will need my ovaries out. I will be returning to work soon and must overcome the nerves and concerns about going back after so much time off.
But none of that mattered today. Today was a day to both celebrate and remember. I wish I never went through all of this but it has made me a stronger person and made me appreciate things so much more. While the cancer has gone away and I hope stays away, it will always be a part of me. I am a survivor.
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