Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The New Normal?

It has been quite awhile since I last wrote on here, but its been an eventful summer.  I've been staying busy with work, travel, weddings, dinners, ballroom dance class, pottery class, earthquakes and just life in general.  Which is fantastic.

I've been feeling normal and well and I've got at least an inch of thick hair growing in.  Its almost like I can pretend the past year never happened.  Almost.  There are still a few tell tale signs, but for the most part my daily life doesn't suggest that any of this ever happened.  And I really have mixed feelings about that.  I can walk down the street and no one would know what I've been through this year.  You could look at me, talk to me and never know.  On one hand, when I was going through chemo and bald and tired all the time, I craved normalcy.  There was nothing I wanted more than to feel "normal" again -- thats the best and most effective way to describe it.  I wanted nothing more than to have this all behind me.  Now that its behind me and the events of the last year are starting to get fuzzy and blur together, I'm trying hard to remember.  Yes, I'm grateful to feel like myself again, but the truth is this whole ordeal is a huge part of who I am now.  I've gained a lot of patience and strength from the experience and I don't want to lose any of that.  I don't want to forget what I went through and I don't want to take any of it for granted.

So now I struggle with walking the line of moving forward, but holding on to at least a piece of what I've been through.

And I'm not quite done yet.  Two weeks from today I will have my (hopefully final) surgery to finish up my reconstruction.  I'm very eager to get it done and truly be able to have the major stuff behind me.  Once I'm done with surgery, the only piece of treatment I have left is my Tamoxifen - which is a pill I will be taking every day for the next 5 years (technically 4 years, 8 months now).  Tamoxifen is not the worst thing ever (especially when you compare it to chemo), but its not exactly a barrel of laughs either.  The biggest side effect is hot flashes -- which I experience multiple times every day.  They are definitely manageable, but annoying.  And it does interrupt my sleep, as I wake up throughout the night too hot or too cold, but I think I've gotten used to that for the most part.

But back to surgery, on September 7 at 9am, I'll start what will hopefully be my last surgical procedure for a long time.  Can't wait!

The other interesting aspect to my lift right now is that I'm starting to experience all of my 1 year "cancer-versaries".  July 4th weekend was the 1 year of when I first found the lump and all through August/September, I was getting tests done.  September 29 will mark 1 year since I was diagnosed and October will be when my Pink Aversion (and this blog) first began.  October will definitely be more meaningful this year and I'll be able to tolerate Breast Cancer Awareness Month much better than I could last year.  October is will also be the 1 year from when I started chemo.  I'm a little nervous that the cold, crisp fall air is going to make me think of chemo, but I'm planning to keep myself very busy and distracted just incase.  Regardless, this year is going to be about a lot of reflecting and a lot of celebrating, so I hope you will all plan on joining me as I commemorate all of my 1 year "cancer-versaries" this year.

I'm going to try and post a little more regularly to this thing and I hope to have some photos up soon too, so you can see more of my hair "evolution".