A year ago today I went to work as usual. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had a cold and was just annoyed that I was using my lunch break to have my lump in my breast checked. I left work for lunch, without really telling anyone where I was going. Why would I tell anyone, I wasn't worried, I was probably going to have my breast drained for all I thought. I meet with the practitioner and she immediately says she needs to get the Doctor. Not until she returned and told me I needed a mammogram "TODAY" and gave me a paper with the name of a surgeon, did I start to panic. Still I was not all that scared. Since there was a break between my mammogram and that appointment, I decided it wasn't best to return to work and draw attention to this "small little appointment". Instead I opted for a pedicure, which was probably the best decision, since my world was about to change and pedicures were out of the question due to the risk of infection! Next I show up for my mammogram. Still not that worried, then an ultra sound. Even when the tech was taking forever on my right breast and armpit I was wondering if they would drain the milk duct in the office or if it would require a surgeon like the practitioner had told me. Finally when things hit me, the Radiologist calls me into the screening room and shows me my scans. She tells me my entire right breast is covered in a tumor. She scares me more by telling me it has calcification's which tells her not only is it cancer, but that it has been there for awhile. The next few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months are a blur!
A year ago today my life forever changed! When I look back, it was really a pretty fast year! I remember meeting with the surgeon, who I met with again today for a 6 month follow up appointment, last year he told me that it would be a long 9 months. I remember thinking, man the last 9 months were long with my pregnancy with Ryan, now I have to do this again! Little did I know being pregnant with Ryan was a cake walk! Chemo was not easy, but I still smile when Doctors, friends or family asks me how I handled it. I did great! I don't want to go back EVER, but it was easy for me! I mean I was tired, moody, sick, etc. But I loved the steroids and I never threw up or missed anything because of it. Surgery, now that was tough. I will admit I really thought it would be easier to heal and recover from and it was not! It is tough to go from doing everything to doing nothing! Radiation....I considered this my morning meditation. It was relaxing to me to drop the kids of and just lay there topless! HA! Not that I meditate topless, but it requires nothing but laying still! They play any music you like and the techs are awesome! Again, I would do without it ever again, but that was easy peasy! Last reconstruction. Again, not as easy as I thought, but I love my boobs! I wish we met on other terms, but I love my boobs!
I have blogged this past year about my journey. This is again nothing I ever thought I would do, but it has been helpful to not only my loved ones but to me. It is so much easier to write your feelings then express them! Believe me, if you are one I have turned to throughout this, you probably left thinking "Note to self, don't ask Amber again how she is feeling". Nah, but I do appreciate anyone brave enough to confront the topic of cancer with me. I can not say it enough, had I not gone through this, I do not know that I would be as good of a friend as some have been to me through this. It is difficult to talk to someone going through something so terrible and it takes bravery, compassion, care and probably lots of water proof mascara and Kleenex to do a face to face. So for that I am thankful that I have wonderful friends and family that talked, cried, laughed and prayed for me!
I have promised myself to never let cancer sneak up on me again. I started by making the decision in January to take a break. To do that, my job decided to leave and go to Atlanta because they knew I wouldn't go on my own terms.....No, but I did use them moving as a way to justify taking some time off and getting paid to have time off. So thank you Porsche, but I miss it daily! I also started watching my sugar and fat intake. I do fairly well with this, except for the past couple of weeks due to again the relocation of Porsche and needing to do one last lunch (and a drink or 2 with a select few) with just about everyone! But I am slowly getting back on track! I started yoga, which I still love, but don't get to near enough, especially with the nicer weather. And lastly I started running. This too I tied to work. I started an app (C25K) that is 8 weeks to running a 5K. I started it when I had 8 weeks left to work. I am a little behind, but I can say proudly that I am running 2.75 miles without having to stop! I recommend the app to anyone, it is awesome! If I can do it, so can you. I have not ran since high school and during those runs, I am not sure they were productive because it was probably through corn fields running from police during the infamous road parties that we had! Again, I am kidding, but the app has really helped to get me there and I look forward to running my first 5K with my head shavers aka best friends: Lisa and Meg later this summer.
I am still scared daily and think about cancer way too much, but I feel so good! I am so proud of myself and hope to continue to doing what I can to stay healthy. It also feels good to have some extra time with my boys. Just being off a couple of days I have already realized how much a job gets in the way from precious time with them. Don, don't worry, I promise I will be searching for a job soon. But going from work, to home, to dinner to baths to bed is a 3rd job. To have some more flexibility because work isn't in the way is kind of nice! Like last night, going outside to play catch with Justin, that warms my heart! We are making memories! Not because I'm going anywhere, but I long for the day that he says remember that summer you didn't go to work and we played catch, caught lightening bugs, fed the ducks, etc....I long for that and can't wait to make those memories this summer.
So good bye cancer! You are not welcome anymore! You tried to destroy a year of my life. As hard as it was, I found the good in it. It has made me love more, laugh often and live. Oh and the wonderful friends I have met along the way is amazing! Some have left me, but are still cheering me on and will always have a place in my heart!
A year ago today! Hard to believe!