One Year Ago Today

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emamei
emamei Member Posts: 146
One year ago today I was in BC Women's Hospital breast health centre receiving my very first mammogram and detailed ultrasound of my left breast.

I remember the appointment vividly. I had a breast lump, that is why I was there. The technician proceeded with the mammogram and then asked me to sit and wait in the same room while she had the doctor view the images. The technician was gone for almost 20 minutes and then returned to the room to tell me that the doctor needed additional images of my left breast.

I knew in those 20 minutes that the worst news of my life was coming. I began to cry when the technician came back to take the second round of images. Again I was asked to sit and wait while she had the doctor look at the second set of images. I was then taken into another room to have my ultrasound.

As the doctor came in and began the ultrasound scan it was clear "you have breast cancer". Her words still ring loudly in my mind. I began to sob and they sent a nurse to the waiting area to get Scott and bring him back into the room to be with me. During the course of the scan, the doctor performed a core biopsy of the lump and a fine needle biopsy of the enlarged lymph node. While doing this, she explained that there was no doubt about it. I definitely had breast cancer that had spread to my lymph node. What kind, stage and grade of cancer would have to wait for biopsy results.

I remember feeling utterly terrified, like many other women before me, as though I had just been handed an automatic death sentence.

The first person I wanted to see that day was my mother-in-law as she was a two time breast cancer survivor and if anyone could relate to my state of mind and emotions at that moment, it was her.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law have been there for me through every step of my battle and they continue to be by side as I navigate the journey ahead.

Yesterday was my 43rd birthday and I spent my day with family members I care so deeply for. As I have come full circle with all my surgeries and treatments, and have begun to move into the next realm of my journey, members of our family are just beginning their own journeys. It is with them I spent my day. I could not have imagined spending my birthday any other way under the circumstances, then with those I love and value.

Cancer induces so many emotions and reactions. Feeling angry and helpless is one of the most distressing feelings a person can have. Cancer steals from us a sense of control over our lives and it is devastating to be forced to concede to this disease and subsequent treatments.

As I have said, cancer is indiscriminate. Medical science has shown that a family history of cancer is no longer a determining factor in and of itself as to who in a family will be struck with the disease.

I must stress to everyone who follows my blog, do not hesitate or put off regular medical physicals or check ups. Do not ignore your body's signs and symptoms of ill being. Do not assume or shake off something that is chronically present. Those that do, sometimes find out the hard way, that for them it's too late for intervention and cure. Do not possess the attitude that "it will never be me".

Don't get me wrong. It is imperative to have a positive outlook and attitude about ourselves and our well being, but it is equally imperative that we not be cocky or self deceptive. We are human, infallible and not invincible.


The most recent cancer stats for the Province of British Columbia, Canada, according to the newly diagnosed cancer table prepared by the BC Cancer Agency's BC Cancer Registry is 22,164 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2009. This breaks down to 11,626 males and 10,498 females. This information is recent as of July 2011. For a closer look at these stats broken down by age, gender and cancer type go to these links -


http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/27D69A84-8911-4B97-9073-96F5CEC13961/52377/cso_Incident_Cancer_Report_2009.pdf


and


http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/1A5196F8-A430-4502-8DD3-AA8D9BDC036A/52379/cso_Crude_Incidence_Rates_2009.pdf


and


http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/1A5196F8-A430-4502-8DD3-AA8D9BDC036A/52380/cso_Crude_Mortality_Rates_2009.pdf


It is an understatement to say we are as a family overwhelmed and without sounding crass, the unfortunate truth is, the realities of the situations are what they are. We cannot change that. We cannot control the health crises happening to our loved ones, but we can control how we handle the crises and how we handle ourselves and our reactions and interactions with others.


Personally, I refuse to be all consumed by this disease and the damage it inflicts on the lives it invades, including my own. As far as I have been told, for all intensive purposes, I've beat my cancer. This is what I hold on to. Even though, I am scared in light of my second mammogram earlier this week and what those results could hold, I am maintaining a positive mind that the results will come back normal.


My health, my body, my mind has taken the beating of a lifetime over the last 12 months. I am weak and depleted, but with every day that passes I am recovering. Yes, I have the daily reminders of my cancer in the scars on my body and the lymphedema that has become a permanent and chronic health issue, I am encouraged by the fact that as long as I continue to receive the manual lymphatic drainage massage, this condition will become more manageable over time. My radiation oncologist told me this week to continue with the regular massage therapy treatments as it is physically evident it is helping to alleviate the swelling, pain and discomfort caused by the lymphedema.


I love life. I love my husband, my daughters, my extended family and friends. Life holds new meaning and purpose for me. My goals are steadfast and my intentions clearer than ever before. Out of the depths of cancer, flows life still and hope for the future.


More later...

Comments

  • dbhadra
    dbhadra Member Posts: 344 Member
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    one year from diagnosis
    is a huge milestone. Your post is wonderful to read and I believe, it will encourage many newcomers that they, too, can get through this.

    Best,
    Laura
  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
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    dbhadra said:

    one year from diagnosis
    is a huge milestone. Your post is wonderful to read and I believe, it will encourage many newcomers that they, too, can get through this.

    Best,
    Laura

    Congratulations
    Celebrate your first year of survivorship.
  • MAJW
    MAJW Member Posts: 2,510 Member
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    Congratulations
    Celebrate your first year of survivorship.

    We keep ...
    On keeping on.....Cancer takes a toll...I am a bit confused though...is this the same mother in law that was going to sell the home you are living in, that you've posted previously about? If so, glad to hear she's had a change of heart and seems to have done a complete turn about....

    Best wishes as you regain your good health,
    Nancy
  • emamei
    emamei Member Posts: 146
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    MAJW said:

    We keep ...
    On keeping on.....Cancer takes a toll...I am a bit confused though...is this the same mother in law that was going to sell the home you are living in, that you've posted previously about? If so, glad to hear she's had a change of heart and seems to have done a complete turn about....

    Best wishes as you regain your good health,
    Nancy

    Yes Nancy
    Yes, one in the same MIL. I know, weird. She's still quite unpredictable and volatile mood wise and drinking is still a major problem. But, for now she's told us she will not be selling the house and putting her grandchildren out.

    Who knows what the future holds with her though. I'm opting to stay positive about it.
  • VickiSam
    VickiSam Member Posts: 9,079 Member
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    emamei said:

    Yes Nancy
    Yes, one in the same MIL. I know, weird. She's still quite unpredictable and volatile mood wise and drinking is still a major problem. But, for now she's told us she will not be selling the house and putting her grandchildren out.

    Who knows what the future holds with her though. I'm opting to stay positive about it.

    Congratulations on seeing what life has to
    offer you, 1 year out of your breast cancer diagnosis.

    Strength, Courage and Hope.

    Vicki Sam