A year ago today I was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer. The following will be a series of posts on different topics related to our experience with cancer.
It’s been an interesting year. 2014 is not what I thought it’d be or would’ve hoped. Cancer sort of flipped everything upside-down, no that’s not quite right. It blew everything up and then put some of the pieces back together and we call that chemotherapy. In some ways it’s been a great year: lots of personal growth, new friendships abounding, generosity of people we know and love and also from complete strangers. Our friends and their friends, my school and its families, my family and their friends, raised lots and lots of money. This let my caretaker, my best friend, my husband, be by my side the whole time. And if he couldn’t be there, he had the space and ability to organize an army of lovelies to volunteer their time to take me to chemo, to appointments, or to sit with me in my medicated daze after surgery.
A few times we’ve tried to make sense of it all. Cancer. Cancer. Cancer. I wasn’t afraid really at all. Not of cancer. My mother-in-law had had stage-1 breast cancer and she was fine and is fine. My father-in-law had prostate cancer and he’s fine. My dad had carcinoma and now has a cool Indiana Jones scar. But I guess them being fine during treatment must have been a selfish illusion. It was convenient to think they were okay and we’re going to be okay. On this side of cancer I know better. People die from cancer all of the time. Or people are in treatment for years at a time. No matter what, cancer sucks. It isn’t easy. It’s an immediate complication; inconvenient at best; a slow and withering end at its worst.
My biggest fear was right before surgery. That there’d be some complications and I’d die. It was really the first time I had thought about death in this whole ordeal. So many people survive cancer, but people die in surgery every day. I even made a will; on my iPhone; during church. I wanted to make sure my journals and baseball cards were taken care of; I wanted to make sure that my organs would be used; I wanted to make sure there’d be a legacy worth leaving. I want to be a person with a legacy worth leaving.
This is Part 1 of the story. Click Cancer Journey to read all of it.