Thursday, April 25, 2013

Differences in Handling what we are handed

  Time does not dull everything. It does not take away all memories. There are those that we wish that it would..and some it does. Or at least eases the pain in such a way that you can stand back at a distance and see the events as if you were watching a movie or reading a book about someone else and their life. I believe that is what is helping me. As time has passed I have reached a point where I can stand and review what went on during my cancer battle with a more objective eye.  It has also given me a much better understanding of the battle of others. Of course I can not fully understand their fight and feelings as we are each different and handle our battles in our own ways.

 I went through a time of wondering. Can they really be telling me its possible? What is on that image that has them suspecting? But no one in my family has ever had breast cancer to my knowledge--can you have breast cancer if no one else in the family has? (silly question maybe but it did cross my mind.) Yes, no and maybe was a constant mantra running through my head. Could I really? If I do what will happen? If I don't..and I probably don't but if I don't will I feel silly for all this internal babbling?  But, if I do...on and on and on while I waited for everything to fall into place as far as getting an appointment for  the doctor to see me and begin the actual finding out process. What was showing up on that mammogram.

There were the nerves on edge. I am terrible with directions as I have no sense of direction. Send me somewhere for the first time and there is a great likelihood that I will end up on the opposite side of town if not the county. I was driving back from Tennessee one time and only had one turn to take. One. and I missed it. I was making good time too until I came to this town that hadn't been there the day before. I know that buildings can go up quicker now, but not that quick. So I was worried about finding the doctor's office being that there are several roads that lead off of the main road by the hospital. I didn't disappoint myself either as I chose the wrong road the first time.
 There was that moment of nerves when she came at me with that enormous needle to do the first biopsy. Well deserved because that hurt. And then there was the waiting, the results and the realization..

How does one act when they know something? There hasn't been any verification, no precise response but you know that you know. The verification and official word, that's just confirmation but you already knew. When the needle biopsy came back with the cells present that often meant there was cancer.. not a definite but good possibility and that I needed a surgical biopsy but I knew. Let them cut, but I already knew.

There were all of those moments of annoyance. All of the ten and a half million questions. All of the tests and people and appointments. So many moments when I just wanted to say forget it all. But I endured.

There was the confirmation and then more tests, more questions and more appointments right up until the day of the surgery. I wasn't really afraid, I was relieved that we were getting this taken care of and it would soon be in the treatment stages.  Treatments..thankfully I didn't need chemotherapy but I did have to undergo radiation treatments. The one time that I felt fear was while sitting in that little waiting area for my turn. Sitting there all alone, I was trying to read a magazine but I gave up and sat and trembled and was on the verge of tears when they finally called my name. The treatments were not really bad. I burned a little but not so much that it hurt, even though I did get lectured by the doctor that I needed to put more lotion on the burns.

I worked the entire time. I missed one day for the surgical biopsy and I missed two days for the actual surgery. During my radiation treatments I went in fifteen minutes early so I could leave fifteen minutes early to go for treatments. There were days that I wondered how on earth was I going to put one foot in front of the other. My feet would get heavier and heavier during the day until it was all I could do to take a step. I slept at night, I just had no energy.
My diet changed. Sweets, junk food of any type and caffeine made the exhaustion worse. I took to eating at every break and eating healthy. Fruit and lots of it became the norm that is still true to this day. I decided that in the hopes of keeping the cancer from returning I would need to make some changes, the diet being one of them. Then it was none, now its less coffee, only one soda a week (and I don't drink all of it), lots and lots of fruit and veggies and I pay close attention to what I purchase food wise. I try to get a regular amount of sleep but that's not always possible.

But that's me, that is how I handled so much of the fight. My inner strengths and weakness. My fears and determination. We all have our ways of handling things. Our strategy is different being we are each so different. Our stories are different. My hope is that the results are the same-- survivor, long term.
My hope, one day there will be no such thing as cancer. And that is why I do what I do. So that the fighter, doesn't wonder or fear that they are alone or forgotten.

Join me? Help me, help the ACS create more birthdays through research, through information, through programs, through volunteers and education. Through someone being there when they are needed. Join me? Join the fight and be on the winning team.

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