Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm Cancer Free!

The best three words for a cancer patient to say - "I'm cancer free!!"

I had one of my last chest scans this week.  I was pretty nonchalant going into the scan.  I have been feeling great, getting back my old energy levels and recovering really well from surgery.  My hair is growing back just as thick as ever, albeit it super wavy!  My eyelashes are growing again and my nails are getting stronger too.  All of these little things are adding up to make me feel more complete than ever.

I didn't tell that many people about the scan because I didn't want to cause anxiety for anyone else.  I also wanted it to be a non-event.  Go, get it done, go back to life.  But, as I was putting on my running shoes (scan day = aggressive work out day), I started to panic.  What if my nonchalance was a sign of ignorance?  What if I am naive about my chances of recurrence?  What if I haven't given proper head space to my cancer and now my scan is going to punish me.  Of course all of these are irrational thoughts, but I was paralyzed with fear.

I was able to get Brian on the phone.  I usually can't connect with him during the day so it was great that he had a free moment.  I relayed to him all of my thoughts and anxiety and Brian did what he does best: rationalized with me, calmed me down, comforted me.  Giving proper head space to cancer sounds stupid - Brian reminded me that I have to live my life optimistically instead of living scared.  He asked me what the point of being afraid is - to be slightly more comforted on the day they say, "Your cancer is back?"  That's not really what I want to do and it doesn't make any sense.  We talked about how great it is to be a couple that can focus on normal things: kids, weekends, activities, family, grocery shopping instead of chemo, radiation, side effects.  It feels so great to be a part of that first group and go back to regular life.

Regular life is also including rediscovering my faith and God's guidance in my journey.  Through my blog, an old friend reached out to me and shared with me her faith journey.  She sent me a lot of resources that I have had the chance to read through and start to make sense of God in my life. Meghan and I have started to go to church together, where the sermons really resonate with me.  Not only is the message relevant in my life, but I am learning how to connect the messages back to the Bible.  I do believe that I was sent on this journey for a reason; maybe to teach me about life's preciousness, maybe to recognize what a gift being a mother is, maybe so I can teach others through my experience.  And while God has given me my challenges, He has also provided me with the most amazing support system someone could have.  Going through chemo, radiation and surgeries have been much easier to cope with since my friends and family are always by my side.

Perhaps my insight wouldn't be so clear, nor my messaging so positive, if my results had come back differently.  And my future is still uncertain, since my highest chance of recurrence is in the next four years.  But each test is part of my journey and each period of time is an opportunity to celebrate and count my blessings.  Look at how far we've come; this pictures was taken just over a year ago.  So much of my time was spent worrying about being a mom, worrying that Evan wouldn't recognize me and worrying about the type of childhood he would have.

Look at how far we've come.  Evan is such a joy in my life and everyday I think about how he saved my life.  This little boy was sent to me to kick those breast cancer symptoms out in the open and protect me.
I'm going to celebrate this weekend - TREAT YO SELF 2012 - and continue to count my blessings.  All of the hard work and tough days in the past 17 months have led to his happy moment.  I'M CANCER FREE!!

1 comment:

  1. I love that you have shared your journey with the world, Erin. You are so brave and such an inspiration. Keep writing, girl. You certainly have a talent for it. xo