So today marks the one year anniversary of the day I started my chemotherapy treatments at Lemmon Holton cancer pavilion and I find it ironic and yet very very meant to be that one year later I am again spending my day here at Lemmon Holton. As I walked …. ok hobbled the floors, to different appointments, my mind was flooded with memories of that first, very long scary day.
The tearful hug I got from my amazing biopsy nurse and friend before I entered the infusion center, to the first nurses Jeanne and Mindy who put my mind at ease and made me smile and laugh through the fear of what was to come as they accessed my port for the first time and started the line that would deliver my first dose of the magic medicine that made me so sick yet also saved my life. I am reminded that on this scary day I was surrounded by the love and support of my husband Jordan and my dear friend Sarah and the virtual support of all of you and I am also reminded that one year ago today I met my now very, very dear friend, Liz.
She had been following my journey/blog and also happened to be a fellow survivor and volunteer for American cancer society so she amazingly walked into the infusion center, found me tucked back in the corner and introduced herself. I remember her big smile and the glow that was coming from her as she said “Hi Tammy, you don’t know me, but I have been following your page and I have been dying to meet you and tell you how inspiring you are. I am Liz, and I am a volunteer for ACS, but I am also a then 2 year survivor. These words will always be vivid in my mind because they were such a refreshing hug on that very scary day and because it was the first time I connected with a breast friend during my year. We talked for what felt like hours, sharing BC stories and life lessons. So one year ago today was also the start of a very beautiful life-time friendship.
My amazing, and I when I say amazing I mean….. The very best, most compassionate, caring, understanding, and real, chemo infusion nurse was not able to be with me on the day of my first chemo infusion because she was traveling, but I was told she did call to check in on me twice, and the most amazing part of all is that we are making up for it today because she is here with me today, which feels so right. As I sit here in the very same chair I started my chemo in, the chair in the corner with the biggest Windows and the best view, that I so often sat in this past year, I thinking of how crazy this year has been but I am feeling grateful. It is a bummer that surgery has set me back so much and required me to need regular infusions again, but it’s hard not to feel like it was meant to be that I see all of my amazing infusion nurses today. Maybe it is all part of the plan some how.
As an update, I am still very sore and struggling to hold hydration so I’m physically pretty weak and shaky, but I was walking around LH… in a hobbling sort of way today without a fall-risk bracelet or a forced wheelchair for the first time since surgery so that is improvement although I have to admit I had some dizziness or as my awesome nurse liked to call it “drunk uncle look” after infusion so she watched my vitals and is sending me down in a chair again.
Mentally I am good. I am reflecting on a year that was HARD physically and emotionally a lot of the time, but was also amazingly inspiring when I truly took the time to pause and let myself see the gifts cancer has brought to my life. I am thankful for the support I had surrounding me one year ago today. I am thankful for the support I have surrounding me now as I continue on with life as a young breast cancer warrior that still has her struggles and fights, but also has her wits and her newfound life perspective in check. And most of all, I am thankful for my team here a Lemmon Holton Cancer Pavilion and the fact that my physically run down, post surgical system has given me the gift of spending this milestone day with all of the nurses who were there when my official cancer treatment began, even if it means I have spent yet another day at the cancer hospital.