My cancerversary is on Friday. It’s been a year since my diagnosis, and it feels both much longer and much shorter than that.
I was sure when I started chemo that it would never end. I went into one session sure I had at least three more, and when a nurse told me I had only one more, I was surprised. Radiation went by so quickly that I can barely remember it now. Mostly I remember one of my radiation techs, Deedee, and Leilani, a fellow patient, who made everyone in the clinic laugh.
When I think of how much time I’ve spent worrying about the future, though, that year seems like a decade. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve truly come to understand that if I have a recurrence, there’s nothing I can do about it. I can try to prevent it by eating healthy and taking care of myself, but that’s all I can do. It’s both frightening and liberating to come to that conclusion.
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s still true: cancer has taught me what love is. It’s taught me that love is not flowers and a ring and a church; it’s my husband changing my bandages. Love is being near my kids; cherishing all the little moments. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the cancer happened the same year Katie started high school. In only a few years she’ll be starting her own life away from us. Every day with her is more precious.
Spiritually, though, I don’t know where I am. We’ve continued to go to church as a family all through my treatment, as we always have, but instead of feeling closer to my higher power, I don’t feel its presence like I used to. It feels like I’ve been dropped off in the wilderness with only a map and pocket change, left to sort out my survival on my own. I might get eaten by something, but I might not. This uncertainty has led me to seek out help in my church, which has helped, I guess.
In a month or so, I’ll be able to talk to a plastic surgeon about reconstruction. I didn’t think I wanted to go through another surgery, but I think it’ll help me a lot, mentally.