There are moments which mark your life. Moments you realize nothing will ever be the same. And time is divided into two parts, before this day and after this day.
Today was the four year anniversary of my stage four metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. And so much has happened these last four years. Some great, some absolutely awful. I have been tried and tested to the depths of my soul regarding my mental state, physical health, spirituality, and even my relationships.
A year out from diagnosis, I felt like a deer caught in headlights. What now? I just wanted to quietly move forward and not look back, to pretend it never happened.
By year 3, I was feeling reflective and proud of my endurance. I also had (and still have) survivor’s guilt. People in my community are still dying from metastatic breast cancer, of which there is no cure.
Now, I feel like if I were to pass my cancer walking down the street, I would nod at it and keep going. I’m constantly consuming the lemonade I made out of lemons.
The last four years have allowed me to release so many things I found myself holding on to for a myriad of different reasons including fear, selfishness, the need to be right, as well as not having the tools I need to process it all. I’ve fought extremely hard to be where I am today in both a physical sense as well as spiritual. And I have so much respect for the woman that writes this today.
Here’s what I know… I have been given the opportunity to find JOY. It is a lot of work to keep myself in that vein. A LOT. There have been a few times that I have allowed myself to fall out of that and because of it I have experienced unnecessary hurt, drama, frustration, and it has ultimately cost me backward steps in my journey toward joy. However, I’m Godly proud of the work I have done and continue to do. My cancerversary always brings much contemplation; the existential angst is real. And I mourn the really shitty parts. And the days and weeks leading up to it cause me a lot of emotions and my “to-do list” grows longer and longer as I can sense the urgency of my timeline.
I know some people who feel like it’s a second birthday because they are alive, and they want a cake and confetti type celebration. Others take a bucket list trip somewhere. I am in the latter group this year. I have disguised my personal celebration as a family trip with my kids, the SOLE reasons I continue to this journey.
Lastly, I know nobody else can possibly understand the mixed feelings of a cancerversary the way my breast cancer community does. I don’t find myself alone when I share that I feel happy, sad, angry, relieved, scared, and grateful all at once. The breast cancer community always gets it. So I’m grateful for those men and women.
Thank you to every single person that has walked with me, cried with me, laughed with me, planned with me, visited, prayed, comforted, thought about me. Supported me, sent money, provided food, liked my pictures, read my posts, and all of the things that everyone has so selflessly done for me. I’m grateful.
Today, I celebrate me and my journey surrounded by my kids. We had some smiles, some jokes, some difficult conversations and LOTS of laughs.
Celebrate this next year, Tricia. You deserve it and more! we’re proud of you.
Explore more about Tricia’s incredible story and her ongoing battle with stage 4 breast cancer on Meet Tricia survivor blog. To gain a deeper understanding of stage 4 breast cancer and the unique challenges it presents, visit our Stage 4 Breast Cancer informational page. Let these resources inspire and support you in your journey, at Learn Look Locate we continue to share stories of strength, resilience, and hope.