One year ago at about this exact moment in time, I was being wheeled off to the first of many scary surgeries. Today was the day that I officially said goodbye to my breasts and to my body, as I had always known it. But today was also the day that I was forced to say hello to a life with cancer. I didn’t know it at the time, but today was going to be a very pivotal day in my breast cancer journey and will most likely be a day that I always remember. Looking back through the photos, I am realizing that I no longer know the young, shy, and naive woman that I am seeing. I am grateful and even somewhat proud of how strong I was in what I now know to be very scary moments, but I am also astonished at how clueless I really was about what was heading my way, which may have been a tiny blessing as well.
Although the day I was told I had cancer for the first time was the scariest day of my life, this day was one of the biggest turning points in my cancer journey because today marks the day that I was pushed to take off my game face for just enough time to put aside my denial and accept that this was actually happening to me. Today was one of the days that made all of this “real” for me, and for everyone who loves me.
So much has happened in the last year and I have grown in more ways then I could ever express in words but I do have to say that, I am very thankful that I had so many amazing family members and friends surrounding me with love, prayers, and most of all hope, at this moment just one year ago and at every step that followed over the past year. I am also VERY thankful for the AMAZING medical team I had backing me as I took my first steps down this very dark and scary road and every day going forward, but most of all, I am thankful for where I am right now in this very moment. I am reliving each and every moment today; the scary and the painful moments, but the happy and appreciative moments as well. I know this past year has been very REAL, but there are still times where I find it really hard to believe that I have come as far as I have in just 12 months. But what still amazes me the most is that I can look in the mirror today and say….
“Yes I did that. Cancer doesn’t just happen to other people. Cancer happened to me. It was not a dream. I bravely faced a list of surgeries to remove all of the body parts that made me feel like a woman. I endured chemotherapy and radiation and I fought with everything that I had inside of me to come out of this with a smile on my face. I have no regrets, because I did everything I set my mind to this past year.”
I was optimistic, strong, and brave like I wanted to be, but I also learned that it was ok to be scared, sad, and discouraged at times. Despite it all, I searched deep inside myself and I found the strength I needed to keep fighting every single day. The very best part of this very important day of refection is that I can now look in the mirror and say that because of the life moments that were set into motion during the surgery that happened one year ago today, I was able to let go of all the useless clutter that had tainted my perspective and filled my mind with self doubt over the first 33 years of my life… and I was able to truly find the “me” that I have always longed to be. This day last year may have represented some pretty scary and negative moments for me…. But March 2nd, 2016 represents the complete opposite. Today I am thankful, proud, appreciate and fulfilled. Today is a good day………