Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Made it to FIVE!

Today marks five years since I finished chemo and determined this day would be my first day of no more cancer. It really isn't true though, it could still be lingering, floating around in a mutated cell somewhere just chillin', but for now it has not reared it's ugly head. I get to live.

I thought today would be different. That somehow it would come and I would wake up to balloons, confetti, and everyone standing around me saying, "YES! you made it!"

I woke up, there was nothing unusual about the room, just another day. Get up. Go for a walk with the dogs and Zipper the cat, of course. Drink my coffee.  Make my food. Shower. Get ready for work. All the same routine, but.....through all the routine, cancer was constantly on my mind and how blessed I am to be here, on this day, healthy, walking, running, playing, and living. Pretty freaking fantastic!

There is so much that happens in five years time and it is truly amazing to look back on it and say to myself, "Wow, I managed to get through that!" It is pretty incredible what our bodies can do for us and how important it is to take care of that body.

So what has cancer done for me?

1. It has caused me to ache, and I mean really ache, all over, all the time.

2. It has disfigured my body in ways that can never be forgotten due to the reflection in the mirror.

3. I deal with neuropathy constantly in my hands and feet, making daily functions difficult at times.

4. I gained alot of weight...alot of weight!

5. I have lymphedema that causes my right arm to swell and my hand to throb causing great pain.

6. My marriage has gone through a lot of turmoil and rough patches.

7. We have not been able to have children, something we both so desperately want. This one I still struggle with and it is very hard to be around those that bitch about being a parent, for we would give anything to deal with these struggles. I can also be very stand offish around new or pregnant moms because my sadness is real. I am still learning to deal with these emotions. But Jeremy and I have our pet family, nieces and nephews we absolutely adore, and all the other kids we interact with that we cherish. Not the same, but it is our life.

8. I have learned the mind is a powerful tool and it truly is mind over matter. If I dwell on the pain in my body, it never gets better. But if I consume myself with other things, my mind can temporarily keep me from the pain. I choose how it limits me, not the other way around.

9. If not for the silicone boobs and scars I may not be here today, so I am glad I have them. I get to live my life.

10. My marriage is stronger, and I appreciate it much more. I cannot imagine my life without Jeremy and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else by my side through all of it - doctors, surgery, chemo, late nights, ER visits, welts, screaming, crying, break downs, laughter, defeats and victories. He is my strength when I no longer have anymore to give.

11. My family is everything to me.......

12. I have met some awesome people, some real fighters that are no longer with us - Rodeo, I know you are surfing somewhere. These are my inspirations to continue to use my voice to remind people that life is short, and being unhappy in a situation is a choice, so make a different choice. Happiness matters.

13. I don't have control of everything.This is still a hard lesson, and I continue to preach this to myself. Control the things you can, but let go of those you can't.

14. I joined a gym, found a family. I get to surround myself with these wonderful people that push me to be stronger, faster, better, and ultimately happier. I have learned there are no actual limitations, just a bunch of "NOT YET's" and that is a great way of looking at things. If we constantly say, "I can't" then we are conditioning ourselves not to even try. But if I say to myself, "I can't do that YET," and continue to believe I can someday, then you have given yourself power to practice and try. Amazing what a few words can give you. And to think, I joined because someone took the time to listen to my struggles, and I stayed because someone took the time to believe in what I could do, and not what I couldn't. There is great power in people. I am truly thankful.

15. I am a SURVIVOR!

16. I am a great resource for others going through all of this. I want to be a resource. Ask me anything, nothing is off limits.

17. Chemo was so hard. Jeremy had to force me to my last appointment. I hated it, dreaded it, so awful. I look back now and cannot believe I did that and got so bald. I lived through it, I made it. I have learned that  I can do anything when I set my mind to it. If I can do chemo, then there is nothing my body can't do. Quitting is never an option.

18. I am reminded I get one body. And I choose what I feed it, how I take care of it, and how I function in it. I must treat it with care.

19. Attitude is everything!

There are still no balloons, confetti, or shouting, but it still is my five year anniversary. I know this isn't the end of worrying, anxiety, and doubt, but it is a milestone I am glad to have reached. I also know I don't do much of those things anymore, but there are lapses of feeling sorry for myself...I am only human. I will forever be grateful for what cancer has given me, even the bad, because I am pretty proud of where I have landed with all of this in five years time. Can't wait for the next five and what kinds of things I will learn from it.

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