I have spent the quiet hours of the morning contemplating on what to write to commemorate this happy day in which I get to celebrate my Four-Year Cancerversary.
I wrote a post on my family blog, because that is where my journey started and that is where it will continue, but I also want to share it here. Thank goodness for the "copy and paste" feature...
I have been participating in the #100happydays challenge on my Instagram account. As the 50 day mark has been approaching I have been thinking, "I really need to find something spectacular to post on Day 50." Earlier this week, when I was calculating the days, I realized that Day 50 would be today.
It is not a coincidence.
Today marks four years from my breast cancer diagnosis.
Last night, I spent a little time reading my blog posts for the one-year, two-year, and three-year marks. I have come a long way in four years. Yet at times, I feel like I am right back in those beginning stages, battling fear and anxiety. The PTSD kicks in and I go through a slight mental breakdown. Usually this happen right around the time of my follow-up appointments with my oncologist. I start noticing every little thing that doesn't feel "normal" and make note of it so I can talk to him about it. Then I do the whole "you're crazy/no you're not" talk in my head and try to convince myself that I am just being silly.
The mental game is still exhausting.
I would say that 80% of the time, I don't think about it.
80% of the time, I am living life to the fullest, enjoying my second chance, and thriving in my circumstances.
But the remaining 20% of the time is spent trying to convince myself that I am healthy; that the new ache in my back is just a tweaked muscle, my IBS flare up is just an IBS flare up, my increased fatigue is just because I need more sleep, and so on. Every time I leave a doctor's office with a clean bill of health, I feel grateful, but I also feel a bit of trepidation. It's almost as though my anxious brain will not rest until one of these doctors tell me,
"I'm sorry. The cancer is back."
Man! I really, really, really, despise what cancer has done to me mentally!
I can take the physical changes...
*The scars- I love them. Every time I see them, they remind me that I did a really hard thing and I was given a second chance.
*The lack of estrogen- I will say that I mostly love this. I really love not having to deal with "that time of the month" physically, although I feel like I still go through phantom PMS and get a bit cranky, which is weird. One thing that I have not loved about the lack of estrogen is the development of "melasma" or a darkening of my upper lip due to the hormone change in my body. In other words, I have a hairless mustache that won't go away. Sure, I am probably the only one who notices it on a daily basis, but it bugs me. I'll get over it though.
But mentally? It's a challenge sometimes.
Cancer is blah.
and it's so good to be alive!
I will take the mental anguish, the weird pains that are probably just weird pains, I will even take the mustache, because I have a great life.
I know that there is a God who loves me and knows me.
I know that whatever the next step for me is, I will be able to do it because I have His help and guidance.
I have a pretty amazing network of family and friends who fill my life with joy.
I know that I am here for a reason and every single day I pray to know where God needs me, what He needs me to do, and who I can help.
Four years of taking life one day at a time.
Four years of living, loving, and growing.
Yes, today is definitely a happy day.
A day of celebration, and let's be honest, will probably include some chocolate in one form or another. :)
Life is good and I am happy to be living it.