Random thoughts almost a year later

My friend A was the first of my school  friends to get married...I was 2 years behind her...she was the first to have kids but then I was next even though it was years later--in the space of the year before and the year after my marriage I saw 3 or 4 friends get married AND divorced...not A and I she celebrated her 22 anniversary this summer and I am celebrating 20 this coming wednesday.

I was the first of my close school friends to get cancer---I would have been happy to be the only one...ever. But I am not. Right now I have this dear friend B who is fighting the fight and far braver than me. She has kept her mind and her since of humor. She is doing great surgery and treatment is successful but she now has chemo in the next few months---so while you are all holding good thoughts for me--hold one for my friend B. We all need prayers sick or not!

I have friends who have had bc scares in the last few months...women I am mothers with in my school who are survivors...and one high school classmate who got it young and it was furious and she was taken from us 3 years ago.

So do it all, girlfriends...self exam, ask your doctors to teach you the right way --or watch the Get In Touch foundation's video, go get your mammogram, get an mri if there is something funky...never be afraid to at least say---how much is it for further tests?
I am lucky--I said I'll pay for it---thinking it would be $2000 and I have a credit card. It turned out that if I paid for it it was $1300 but if my insurance had been billed I would have owed around $3000. as I had no risk factors that called for an mri. Saved money by not using my insurance.

Last night I was reminded of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry is dating a girl who he wonders if she has breast implants--he is encouraged in this by Elaine who says they are implants..the last line--when the girl gets pissed off at him is--by the way  they're real and they're spectacular!

I am grateful that I didn't let fear or vanity get in my way when making my decision. I thought I am not afraid for my love life or my looks right here right now I WANT TO LIVE and that is what is important so cut them off and take them away and SAVE MY LIFE--early on someone said "they turned against you" No they saved me--I was lucky to get cancer in a place I could live without...

I have spent the year being ---physically challenged in a way I never imagined
exhaustion, bald, violent skin reaction on my face to steroids(really will post one of those pics if I haven't already--) dropping breasts with dents that show through my clothes, scars, weak, nauseas, losing lashes, sores in my mouth, dripping nose--really a faucet, losing 10 pounds at the beginning which was good only to gain it back plus 10 more from Chemo.  Insomnia(hadn't had a problem with that since I was 12, Menopause---MENOPAUSE--slammed into it so hot flashes --incredibly dry skin--and the pounds that are stubborn to come off...dehydration...weakness in my upper body---took forever for it to feel right when I swam--will work that back again now when they let me.

BUT I LIVE!

so really it wasn't so bad---don't want to do it again--but sitting here with the hardest behind me---I managed to keep my eye on the end of the tunnel. CP told me over and over--we're in the tunnel just traveling through---the important part is the traveling THROUGH part.

When we would get lost  dad would always say, Well we're seeing some nice country...when we took a wrong turn in Honolulu and went down the alley behind the prison with the guys with carbines up in the towers and the razor wire I looked at him and said Well we're seeing some nice country!

So I saw the country and I don't need to go back again---however I do want to be supportive of anyone and everyone I meet who is going through any part of this ---
I know I have a story but what part of it comes out of me depends on who is asking
Some people get the get tested advice some get the god advice some get the marines advice...

Next week is the anniversary of my marriage

it is also the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis---I know which one I will be celebrating...
both--an odd answer you say? But you see having the diagnosis means  I get 20 more years of marriage to my most amazing husband.

did any of you catch the irony that I had my mastectomy at the beginning of breast cancer month...