I had my last surgery on 6/28/19. This was my 2nd reconstruction surgery as my plastic surgeon originally told me that I would take a couple surgeries to even out my chest. I had a unilateral mastectomy meaning I have one real breast and one fake. Plus I had radiation after chemotherapy and radiated skin makes everything even harder to to operate on. And then my upper body is pretty petite so making small adjustments during surgery was the safest way to go.
As I sit in my hospital bed getting preped for surgery I started thinking about my life since diagnosis. I’ve gone through hell and back. I’ve had some hard days and even harder days. Cancer takes so much away but in a strange way, it’s also given me so many opportunities. I’ve meet some incredible people, I started a blog, my story was featured at the breast friends gala, & I was cast to be in a movie. Meanwhile I’m able to run without my hip hurting, I can kick ass in a Burncyle class, I walked Portland to Coast, & I’m constantly in ah of how strong my body is. It’s taking me a while to get back to this point, but I’m here!
I still get told how good I look or how good it must feel to be done & a survivor. But the truth is, I’m not done and I’ll never be completely cured. I’m never technically cancer free as the doctor’s label me as a patient with no evidence of disease. I’m still battling, every. single. day. My cancer was hormone receptor positive meaning that it was fed by estrogen and progesterone. So my cancer not only affects my breast but my lady parts too. It’s been incredible difficult to navigate through managing my body after treatment.
I’m on hormone therapy (a pill that helps decrease estrogen) for 10 years and in less than a year it’s wrecked my body. I go back to my oncologist this week to talk about next steps. She wants to change my medication and the only other medication would put me in complete menopause. Yet another terrifying moment for me. I’m not ready for this, I’m not. There’s parts of me that just doesn’t want to take the medication. I want to put all my eggs into western medicine, eating healthy, exercise, & positive thinking. Truly this is what I’m leaning towards. But what are my changes that this awful crap could return? Do I take that risk with a young family plus being young myself?? So many decisions to make that can continue to effect so so much.
I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support since being diagnosed. I’m blessed to have so many people that continue to be by my side. But it also crazy to think how much my tribe has changed significantly since I was diagnosed, new friendships have formed, getting involved in the breast cancer community has been my saving grace. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that it still hurts me to think of the people that just don’t reach out anymore, the friends that I thought would be there til the end. Family that doesn’t call or even ask how to help. A cancer diagnosis is one of the scariest events anyone can experience. But it’s hard not to get my feelings hurt when people that just don’t get it.... maybe they don’t know what to say, maybe they are too busy, maybe they just don’t have time. Whatever it is, It saddens me.
Cancer is extremely lonely. It’s a lane that many people unfortunately don’t get. Appointments by myself, so many doctors, & so many times of just feeling like I’m in an island by myself.
This journey isn’t over for me. There’s no finish line as I navigate through life after treatment. Cancer will always be in the back of my mind when I go to see any doctor. But again, being an advocate for myself, surrounding myself with positive people, & continuing to thrive is what I do best. So for that, I’ll keep on keeping on.
I’m doing well after surgery. I’ve healed quickly and bruising has subsided. I go back to work next week and I’m excited to be getting back to my normal schedule. I look forward to being released for activities as I miss working out and being active. But I’m being gentle on myself as I heal and recover! Summer is flying by and we’ve done lot of fun activists with the kiddos. They always love having mommy around a little bit more and mommy always enjoys the extra cuddles! They are the best little nurses and keep me pointed in the right direction.