Around this time last year I was dealing with life-changing news. I was processing that I had breast cancer. Last month I was dreading this “anniversary.” Yesterday I realized the date is here and I’m not going to focus on the difficulty of this time a year ago.
I am certainly a lot busier now that I am back at work which is helping distract me from thinking about what happened a year ago. But I’m also viewing it now as look at all I have overcome and done since that date a year ago.
I was able to undergo the “tougher” (the A/C) half of chemo while pregnant. I was able to have a healthy baby boy three weeks after finishing my first half of chemo. I was able to undergo 12 more rounds of chemo, which started two weeks after having Bryce. I was able to have a bilateral mastectomy three weeks after I finished chemo and overcome a staph infection and complications related to reconstruction following this. I was able to return to work and take on a new position days after learning I lost my old job I put a lot into.
I am enjoying life so much more. I’m focusing on what really matters, my family and trying to spend as much time with them as I can. I went to more soccer games for the boys this fall than I did last year with one less child. I am taking the girls on outings during the school week when I can. I took the boys on an aquarium when they were off last month and may do something with them this week while they are off.
I’ve learned to appreciate the little things. Something as routine and simple as taking a shower or putting a bra on were a challenge but with time and patience I could do more and more following my surgeries.
I learned to relax and take care of myself. As someone who is always on the go, it was hard to not be as active as I usually was but it’s what I had to do to get through the chemo and surgeries I had. I feel guilty that the house is a mess and I did little to improve that during my time off but that was not what my leave was for. My time off was for me to rest and recover and heal from the hell my body went through and I was able to do that.
While I can recall the fear and anxiety and doctors visits of this time a year ago, I am not going to focus on that, but instead focusing on how far I’ve come since this time last year.
I got through chemo and dealing with cancer while pregnant. I fought this disease while raising 4 and then 5 young kids. I lost my hair and my breasts. I lost my job I worked really hard to succeed in for three years but have a new opportunity to take on.
My focus last year was on survival and of course still is on that, but now it’s my time to thrive. I am finally back at work and enjoying a new role which is a lot less stressful than the one I had. I’m not going to focus on how scary and hard this time of year was for me last year. Instead I’m going to focus on just how far I’ve come and how I’m going to thrive with my new appreciation and outlook on life.
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