One year CANCER FREE!!!

One year ago today I was in a hospital room recovering from a single mastectomy.  Apparently, I wrote a blog post that evening, but I have absolutely no recollection of doing that!    It was one year ago that the surgeon roomed my right breast ridding me of the cancer trying to take over my body.  It was one year ago that I became CANCER FREE.

In the past year I have overcome so much.  hundreds of blood draws, surgery, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, loss of my hair, neuropathy, 28 rounds of radiation, and all the side effects that go along with all of these treatments, but I did it!

I celebrate my one year anniversary with all of you as you are who helped me through this past year.  Thank you.  Thank You.  THANK YOU.  Those words will never be adequate enough to truly express the gratitude I feel.  I am horrible at thank you notes….I do plan to sit down and write them….but please know that absolutely nothing went unnoticed.  From the smallest of things to the absolutely incredible things.  I do believe I cried more tears of joy than fear this past year because of my support system!

To celebrate this year, I told Chris that I wanted a charm bracelet that I could add charms to each year symbolizing another year.  For my birthday he took me to Pandora where I was able to get the bracelet I had my eye on. I had no real plans of getting a charm as I figured my first charm would come today…Chris and Isaac convinced me I needed a birthday charm. I told the clerk my favorite color was pink and she showed me several great ones and then she said, I have a daisy. My mom’s favorite flower is a daisy and mu favorite color of pink, it seemed like the perfect first charm!

I had been searching a while for a “1” to add for my cancerversary. Of course Amazon had it! Below is a picture of my charm bracelet with the two charms. I look forward to adding many more milestone and cancerversary charms! (Yes, I totally made that word up)

Today Has Been Hard

Today has been a hard day, both physically and emotionally.

When radiation ended, I knew I would be starting hormone therapy that would last ten years. It would be in two segments, each lasting five years. Two and a half months ago I began the first phase.

I would be given a monthly shot, Zoladex and take a daily pill, Letrazole. As with most medications, they both come with a long list of side effects. By far, the worst has been bone, joint, and muscle pain.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed that it’s a bit harder to get up off the floor or roll out of bed in the mornings to start my day, but moving around usually helps. Today has been different. There has been pain and discomfort in both my hands and nothing I have done has brought relief. This is a combination of the Letrazole and the lingering neuropathy from chemo. I do have some medication left over from my chemo days that the doctor said I could take if needed. I took that at dinner and I’m hopeful it will help soon!

That’s the physical side, which led to the emotional side. Today has been one of my lowest days since chemo ended back in March. Knowing this treatment will last five years is hard. I know that if things get bad enough, we can look at other treatment options, but the reality is that these types of symptoms will more than likely come and go throughout the course of treatment. That’s a hard pill to swallow, literally.

I have to remind myself that it’s temporary. There will be good and bad days. I am still in the fight. I have conquered chemo and radiation and I will conquer this as well. God is so much bigger than this!

Thankful For a Birthday

Today is my birthday! As we age, often we don’t celebrate birthdays as much, but this year, this birthday, is special.

Let me go back to my birthday last year. A week prior I had been told of the suspicious mammogram and ultrasound and I would need to schedule a biopsy. I spent the next six days going through every scenario possible. The good, the bad, and the horrible. The biopsy was scheduled August 12. The day after my birthday.

I love any day I can eat cake and be given gifts…Yes, sugar and gifts are my love language in case you were wondering. Last year, I couldn’t really enjoy the meal with family and friends. I don’t remember if I received gifts (I’m sure I did). My mind was too consumed in the thought that I could be celebrating my last birthday. The entire day that;s where my brain was. I wanted to make sure to get pictures at dinner. A picture with each of my boys. A picture with Chris. I needed all of those pictures, not for me, but for them…for when I was gone.

I was in such a dark place. A place of fear and uncertainty. Would it be my last birthday here on earth? I tried hard to put on a smile and enjoy the day. There were some great moments that day. I was able to enjoy dinner. My family treated me like a princess, like always, but then night came. Nights are when I slow down and my mind begins to go places. It’s been a struggle of mine for decades. One I am medicated for, but it still happens. Last year’s birthday ended in tears. It ended with fear. It ended with so many questions.

Fast forward to today. What a difference a year makes. I am full of life. Full of love. Full of JOY. The journey over the last 365 days was hard, but I made it! My family and friends showered me in love, gifts, and even cupcakes. My husband is taking me shopping this weekend as my gift. But the greatest gift this year, and every year came from my God. He gave me another birthday. Another year to celebrate. Another year to take pictures with those I love. And another year to wear the “birthday hat” that has become a Cotterville tradition.

I am beyond blessed. I am so glad that I didn’t stay in that very dark place from one year ago. I will admit, I was there for a good month while waiting on tests and results. But with the help of all of you and our Heavenly Father, I found hope. My birthday is ending in tears again, but these are happy tears. I’m in awe of how God has blessed me this past year and I cannot wait to come back this time next year and share the blessings that my 38th year of life will bring!

Thank you to all who had a part in the past year. Thank you to all who had a part in making today a wonderful day!! I will leave you tonight with a picture of me in the “birthday hat”!!

God > Cancer!!!