Two years ago on this day, at this time, I was heading into a very long surgery to remove my breasts and start the reconstruction process. I have been thinking a lot about it as one of my friends is going in today for a lumpectomy to remove her cancer. I am so thankful for her; it was found early and her treatment is appropriate. But she still had to hear those awful words, “You have breast cancer.” Life changing words which will forever alter her perspective on so many things and her body in so many ways. But she has the most amazing attitude and has tremendous support; those will go a long way in her recovery. I am blessed to have her as my friend and sending her all my love today.
As for me, what a difference a year makes. While I am still in pretty constant, mild pain from my meds (Letrazole) and have a lot of fatigue, my life has moved forward quite a bit. My breasts have amazing tattooed nipples, and I have beautiful cherry blossoms over my scars. Now, I am not shocked when I look in the mirror or afraid that I will scare little ones in the changing room at the gym. Well, I don’t actually make it to the gym enough yet, but I am working on it! The husband and I are also changing our eating habits. We started Keto (not sure quote what the proper way is to say that? The Keto diet? Trying to be in ketosis? Whatever, you get the idea!) last week and I am down 5 lbs. Having cheese and avocados on a meal plan is ahhhmmaazing! I still miss bread and pasta, but I want to be healthier, to live longer and enjoy my life, see my son enjoy a good life and be a grandmother to his kids. Having all of that is worth cutting down on the carbs and sugar! Plus, you can still have vodka. Win!
I have also become a full fledged volunteer of Breast Friends, the emotional support organization. It is my home away from home, and I have found a place where I belong. I send out hats to women who have lost their hair from chemo, call them to check and see if they received it and how they are doing and provide continued follow-up. Hearing how much they love their hats and so appreciate the support warms my heart. I have also spoken twice at Breast Friends events and last week I spoke as a representative of Breast Friends at St. Mary’s Academy during their Breast Cancer Awareness Night Basketball games. I was honored to share my story and remind the young ladies how important it is to do self-checks, talk to their doctors about anything odd and put their health first.
I have not moved forward on my book; life is just very busy. Trying to fit in my time at Breast Friends, weekly volunteering in J’s classroom, walking the dog, taking care of a house full of people, fitting in a yoga class, having time for the husband and friends and also watching “A Million Little Things” and “This is Us” is a lot. I did decide that I want to start my own non-profit organization where myself and others can take their therapy animals to visit those who are going through chemo at home and could use some cheering up and comfort from animals. The first test animal will be our Golden Retreiver, Apollo. He helped me during my treatment so much and I want to help others. I mean, who would not love this face?
All in all, I am so thankful that time does heal wounds and you do move forward. I cannot wait to see what the next year will bring in my life! Being on “Ellen” to talk about my therapy no-profit (I really need to name it) is one of my goals; that may take a couple of years, but I’ll get there. It’s good to have dreams.