On September 22, 2010, Dr. Grandpa told me that the results of my stereotactic biopsy came back malignant. I had breast cancer. This doctor, who I had never seen before in my life, just told me that I had the disease that took my mother from me. It was a horrible, traumatic day - one that I will unfortunately never forget. I was overcome with every emotion available: shock, fear, sadness, anger, and uncertainty. I was crying so hard that the nurse in the room with me started crying too. I couldn't get a hold of my boyfriend, the one person I wanted the most in the world. It took me about five hours or so, and a lot of stalking, before I was finally able to tell him the diagnosis. Oh what a horrible day September 22 was.
I cried a couple of happy tears on my way home from my last radiation, also known as Graduation Day. To say I'm done with active treatment, my God.... I feel like I have climbed the highest mountain and the view is amazing. I still have a lot of doctors appointments and boob squishy appointments in my future. Graduation Day doesn't mean I'm done with cancer and never have to think about it ever again. Graduation Day meant that I got my life back. No more surgeries (cancer-related ones, at least), no more chemotherapy, no more radiation. I don't have to go to the hospital Monday through Friday for two months, so I can get my boob nuked. My life is returning to some semblance of normal.
I had a No More Cancer Treatment Party yesterday. I wanted to celebrate surviving ten months of needle pokin', allergic reactions, pain, shots, poison, scars, lopsided boobies. I have absolutely no desire to have anymore celebratory drinks/dinners/cookouts with anybody who couldn't make it to the party. I want to put cancer on the back burner and get on with my life. Frankly, I AM BORED TALKING ABOUT CANCER. I want to go out, see movies, work on my house, go on hikes, anything. I had a huge handful of friends say, "Sorry I can't come but we'll go out and have celebratory drinks." I don't want to do that because I need to make a huge concentrated effort to not talk about cancer anymore. I'm sorry so many couldn't come and celebrate the end of my treatment, but I have no desire to extend this celebration any longer. I am done.
For a long time, I wondered how I was going to get through this. I had known all of my adult life that I would come face to face with this disease, but I never thought it'd come at me at 30. I quickly learned how tiring it was to keep having the same conversation with different family members about my diagnosis, so I created Get Up Swinging as a way to relay information. If a family member or friend who lived far away wanted to know how I was, then I encouraged all to read this blog.
I think blogging during an extended illness is an extremely therapeutic. I was able to think out so many thoughts and emotions going through my frantic mind. GuS helped me to cope with all my family drama involving my parents' non-involvement, and my self-absorbed, passive-aggressive stepsister blocking me on Facebook. I never identified her in my original blog posting but anybody who knows me, know I was talking about the Golden Child in my family. If I didn't have GuS as an outlet at times, I probably would be on a life-time anxiety medication regime.
My final thoughts... Just to warn you: there won't be any profound insight about the meaning of life or anything like that.
Cancer doesn't really change who a person is, or at least it certainly didn't change me. I don't think my personality has gone any dramatic changes. I might be more of a jerk who's not scared to fight or confront someone who I feel done me wrong (see above: asshole, selfish family members). I feel that cancer does light a fire under you... oh man, I really feel that fire to go out and get things done. All the things I have been procrastinating or putting off, like vacations or learning new skills... No more. I want to go on a long, tropical vacation with my sweetie to Belize. I will do everything in my power to make this happen. I have other hopes and dreams that I want to make happen.
Thank you to everyone who read this and played a part in my treatment/recovery. I couldn't have survived it without all your help and kind words. I'll now end this with the quote that perfectly sums up GuS: