Sunday, October 16, 2016

Today is the day!

Today I hit the three year cancer free mark. I feel like this day is the beginning of my "hump" year headed towards the 5 year mark which increases my survival rate. Survival rate.......I like to call it the Living rate. I had cancer, I live with the fact it could return any day. That is not always a comfortable place to live. But truly, it's not much different than living after losing a spouse or a child. You continue on, but every day there are reminders that sock you in the gut.

I've been trying to embrace my cancer-ness. To reach out. To be available. To be a shoulder or a phone call. To guide. And then to step back and watch that warrior race forward on their own. But then, I've had good roll models in this journey who have done the same for me. A sister/brotherhood that we find ourselves in. Thankfully, never alone.

This year for my anniversary, Alexes, Dave and I are walking in the Making Strides American Cancer Society walk next weekend. I'm looking more at the fundraiser CURE which is focused more on finding a cure for metastic cancer. Something I never want to have.

The biggest difference I feel this year is just that, the ability to feel. I had cancer. I have fake boobs. I take medication that makes me gain weight. But I feel. I'm alive. I've had three more years with my family and friends. It is part of my life, but not my entire life. At times, thoughts rear their ugly head but for the most part, I live. And for that movement, I'm grateful.

For years I felt like I was drowning in cancer. I felt I would never be the same. I felt disappointed that my body was not what it used to be. That my mind was off. That I had to take medications that felt like poison to my body. Today, I feel more at peace. Yes, I had breast cancer, but it never had me. And that feels amazing!

Today I look at my almost 17 year old, my 14 year old, my newly 10 year old, and my 4  year old and I think of the ways cancer has changed them. They know I had cancer. But the littles were not effected. They were too, well, little. But my big boys, they get it. They understand that cancer kills people. They have watched their grandfather go through colon cancer recently. They have stared cancer in the face of a loved one. Their compassion has no end. I like to think my cancer journey taught them a little about the focus of life. But then again, they are teens and their focus is mostly self centered. :)

I'm grateful God wasn't finished with me yet. I'm grateful that He was there to help me walk in grace. I'm grateful for my friends and family who never left my side. I'm grateful for the new friends Cancer has brought into my life. I'm grateful to bring awareness to self exams and mammograms. I'm grateful to be strength when others need it. I'm.just.grateful. For one more year with my kids. More time with my husband. Memories with my family. More wrinkles, more laughs, more days running kids here and there.....

Yes, this is my hump year. Not because things will go downhill from this day forward, but because they will go upward. As I hear my friends say they are 17 years, 10 years, 6 years, 5 years cancer free, I want that to be me. Moving on! Upward!!!

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