Every now and then something pivotal happens in one’s life by which time is measured. A life-altering event like a birth, a death, or a diagnosis such as cancer, can change your life in an instant. For me, my marker event was Sammie before cancer, and then Sammie after cancer. As I look back on my cancer journey, all I see is change to the point where I barely recognize the person I was before cancer. There will always be a BEFORE and an AFTER.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was afraid. No that’s not right. I was scared sh#tless! But I made it my priority to educate and prepare myself as much as possible for what was about to happen to me….even though there were a lot of unknowns and no guarantees. I studied, researched and combed the internet for any information on breast cancer and mastectomies and I made sure that I avoided or edited any information that was NOT factual or was sensationalized. I avoided the writings and messages from the crazies that said things like my cancer could be healed with certain foods or minerals or even with a just some meditation. I made it my job to be informed, ask the right questions of the right people and to follow the advice of the experts…my oncologist and surgeons.
It was about a week after my bilateral mastectomy; a Saturday… the “weekend and normally that would have felt special but for me everyday was Saturday…without the “special”. I had been feeling a bit stronger every day although I tired very easily. In fact I had just woken up from a three hour nap. Before my surgery, I was lucky to sleep three hours straight a night let alone sleeping in the middle of the day…and that’s having done absolutely nothing. Crazy. People said, take advantage…don’t fight it. Trust me, I couldn’t have fought it if I tried.
Many people have commented that I am always smiling. That I seem happy and that I don’t “act” like I’m “sick” or in pain. Like the lyrics from the song Smile…”What’s the use in crying?” Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t change anything. Moping around and wishing things were different won’t make them different. I’ve endured seven surgeries so far. It hasn’t been easy. Each time I am sliced open, it takes longer and longer for my incisions to heal. And not to be too graphic, but I measured my scars…15 inches on the right and 17 inches on the left..
Calling all control freaks- When you first learn that you have cancer, you may feel as if your life is out of control. Many feel that a way to gain back some of that control is to know EVERYTHING. Who can blame you? We live in a society that places a lot of stock in “knowing.” I mean, we can learn anything we want with one touch of a button thanks to our good friend Mr. Google.