Wow. It’s really hard to believe that my one year anniversary has come and gone so quickly! Has it actually been one full year since this whole experience began? Time flies when you’re … well, maybe it wasn’t that much fun.
But really, I am completely amazed at how time flies.
September 11th of this year marked the first anniversary of my mastectomy.
On that day in 2006, I went under the knife and had my left breast removed. On that day, I officially began my new life.
And on that day, my world, my thoughts, my feelings, and my priorities, completely and radically changed.
I really wasn’t fully aware of what I was facing, and I wasn’t completely aware of how close to dying I really was on that day.
See, what I didn’t realize was that, statistically speaking, if I had refused treatment or taken too much time to think about it, I had less than one year to live.
If I hadn’t decided to act quickly and go through all four of the treatment regimens (including mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and estrogen blocking therapy) I would not likely have made it to the one year mark.
Yes, my particular type of breast cancer was furiously aggressive and, if left untreated, would have certainly caused my demise.
And it hit me…
If I was born 50 or more years ago, and had been diagnosed with this same exact form of breast cancer, I would not likely have lived to write this blog post today.
Essentially, I owe my existence to modern medicine.
My body would have failed me at the age of 36 or 37, without the aid of modern medicine and ultra-modern chemo treatments.
Wow! How can I possibly express how this makes me feel?
There simply aren’t enough words to define how I feel about this. Shocked? Yes. Amazed? Absolutely.
But I think the word that comes closest to defining it is “Grateful”.
I am grateful for every day that passes and I’m still healthy. I am planning on being around for a lot of years.
I can afford to plan for this because my life was saved one year ago.
An entire team of medical specialists rushed to my aid and with their help, I am in remission today.
I plan to stay in remission for the rest of my life.
And no matter what, every day that passes is a gift. It’s a gift I am humbled by. It’s a glorious, wonderful, beautiful gift I would not have been entitled to a few years ago.
No matter what happens from now until I am old and gray and ready to move on…I am acutely aware that none of my day-to-day experiences could have happened if it were not for the love, kindness, caring, and advanced medical treatments I’ve received.
I see the world differently now. I don’t know how to explain how my perceptions have changed.
Everything that happens, whether it is good or bad, is an experience I have been gifted with.
If my kids get on my nerves, I am grateful for it because I am still available to be irritated by them.
If I feel overworked, I am grateful that I can still be around to run my business and experience the stress.
If I invent a new product or have a new business idea, I am grateful for it, because I know it is one more idea I would never have had time to invent.
If I go on a trip, I am grateful for the chance to see one more exotic location I could have died never having seen it.
If I wake up in a cold sweat from having a bad dream, I smile knowing it is a dream I would never have seen.
I have no idea what the future will bring. I don’t know if I will ever have my breast reconstructed. I am not sure what experiences I will have before my next Mastectomy Anniversary. I can’t be 100% certain that my cancer won’t come back.
But I know this…
Every experience, every smile, every tear, every feeling, every thought, every thing that happens is a gift I’ve been given.
It’s the Gift of LIFE
P.S. I may not post much to this blog in the weeks and months ahead, but don’t worry.
It is quite simply because I am spending more time living than I ever did before. I’m getting out there, living, loving, and laughing. I’m experiencing each moment I have left. Whether I have 1 year or 50 years to live, I intend to do what brings me the most joy.
The Gift is very precious to me, and I accept it with open heart and open arms.
Thank you for sharing my journey!