Life. One Year Later
Last updated: September 2023
One Year ago, 365 days, 8750 hours, 525,600 minutes. My life, the lives of my close family and friends...changed forever.
I miss who I was before that day. Before everything came crashing down.
I read it over and over and over
I never missed a mammogram, I had no lumps or bumps, no signs or symptoms. I had a CT scan for an unrelated issue. I requested a copy of my scan and since I am in the "business," I got it. I read it over and over and over... and then over and over again.
Not only did I have a breast mass and enlarged deep lymph nodes, but it possibly spread to another part of my body. Knowing what I know... I knew what it was, and I knew it was not good. Metastatic Breast Cancer...no cure, treatable but life-limiting.
I was paralyzed with fear... My husband was too. We waited a week to see the oncologist, which is not long...but to us, it was forever.
After the diagnosis, we grieved the life that will be cut short, the love that I will leave behind. But I (we) were not ready to give up just yet. I have 4 grands that love their Gigi, as well as a few extra. I love spending time with my daughters and their families... We have a good life that we are fortunate enough to share with those that mean so much to us. My family rocks and we are so thankful.
My new normal
So far, I have had biopsies, surgical port insertion, multiple scans, 34 chemo infusions, 5 blood transfusions, daily cardiac medication, and an estrogen inhibitor. I am ALWAYS achy, always tired, have neuropathy in my hands and feet, shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate...and a sickening knowledge that this is my new normal and that it will NEVER end. Unless some miracle occurs, I will be on treatment for as long as I am alive.
Oh yeah... I have no hair and I wear a scarf or a wig 👱👱
Family and friends mean everything
And Jim, well he has been amazing, patient, and supportive but it's hard for him too because, most of the time I don't look sick, but I feel like crap and take it out on him.
There is an emotional and mental component to treatment beyond the obvious physical effects. There is anxiety and depression, mood swings, sadness, and anger. This is in addition to processing the diagnosis and prognosis, treatments, and day to day challenges. There have been some enlightening aspects of this process. I have learned who my true friends are, who give support unconditionally, who my real family is by blood or not.
Those that have given love, comfort and so many prayers know who they are and know how much that has meant to me and my family. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Our circle is smaller now and we are OK with that because we know its real and true.
The physical and emotional toll
Some days it is extremely hard to show up, physically and emotionally. I'm stoic and strong and I try not to let this disease define me. But really, I am so tired of being tired.
SO even though I have an illness with no cure, an illness that is considered terminal, I thank the universe and God that I am still here, to be a part of my husband, kids, grands, family and friends...to be a part of their lives.
And I’ll keep fighting as long as there are options and as long as this universe and God guides me.
Thanks, and keep those prayers coming. I hope to be able to write a letter every year for a very long time.
This is my story.
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