I’ve wanted to write blogs on so many subjects, at so many different times, but I haven’t. It’s an odd feeling, and one that I don’t know if I can adequately explain, but I will try.
It’s been nearly 2 ½ years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and last Saturday, June 9th, a Facebook memory popped up and it showed me that it was my 2-year anniversary since beginning my TAC chemo treatment.
After my bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy – with several surgeries in between due to infections – my breast cancer has been in remission since Oct. 2016. After my first failed attempt at breast reconstruction, I was finally healthy enough to undergo surgery to re-implant the breast tissue expanders in March 2017 and I had the permanent implants inserted in Sept. 2017.
So, at times I feel like my journey is over. I got cancer, kicked it’s a$$ and survived. However, you don’t just go back to the way you were after battling – and surviving – breast cancer, hell, any cancer, for that matter. It changes you. Well, it changed me, at least. I have a new normal. My body is different, I have scars across my chest from the six surgeries, a scar from the chemo port, and scars on both of my sides from the drains after the breast surgeries. My breasts are smaller than they once were and there are no nipples (although I did get a 3D nipple tattoo – a blog about that is coming soon!). My hair is a different (and BETTER) texture than it once was and I found that I prefer myself with short hair. Those are just a few of the physical changes, but there are also many mental and emotional changes since battling and surviving cancer. I see things differently now and have a completely different outlook on life. I appreciate things more than I once did and I have learned to better accept minor setbacks and put things in perspective. But at times, I feel myself slipping back into the same person I was before having cancer. The woman who just worked and adulted and didn’t take time to smell the roses or live in the moment.
As far as writing, when I do chat with new people and talk about my experience they always tell me “you should write about it!” I tell them that I have a blog, but that I am doing a horrible job of keeping it up.
It’s like I am torn … I want to share my experience and things that I’ve learned and went through, but then a part of me doesn’t want to relive it. That was the worst, scariest year of my life and I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it out alive. However, the more I talk to people, the more I realize that I have a lot of things that I want – and NEED – to share. And although I’ll primarily focus on my experience with breast cancer, I called this blog battling breast cancer and beyond for a reason – I am in the beyond stage now. I want to talk about my life now – after cancer. So, the topics will vary going forward. Probably everything from my weight loss journey to family trips and everything in between.
I don’t want to hide my feelings or experiences or pretend like cancer didn’t happen; however, breast cancer does not define me. I am living a wonderful and blessed life, post-breast cancer. Breast cancer happened to me. Breast cancer affected my family. Breast cancer made me fight the most difficult fight of my life – FOR my life. Breast cancer did not kill me. I kicked cancer’s a$$ and it’s such an important topic for me to talk about.