But who is counting?
It has been a long time since I have blogged. But so much has happened. It is exciting to think less and less about breast cancer every day. But it is never far away. Between all of the pink in October during Breast Cancer Awareness month, checkups with my oncologists and surgeons, any ache and pain that I used to brush aside and now wonder if it could be cancer or the numerous women I have met that have also joined my unlucky club.
Every day I get farther and farther from that horrible day and those months of treatment. But every day I take a pill called Tamoxifen that helps protect me from the estrogen receptor of my breast cancer from coming back. Although it is a mild drug, I have struggled with being able to get back to the weight I once was (and I promise I eat well and work out a ton). It also has complications that I have struggled with. Last year I had large ovarian cysts removed that looked suspicious for cancer and they have continued to haunt me throughout the years.
I meet women every month that are going through what I once dealt with. I have spoken with a sister of colleague who is only 26 with 2 children, an aunt of my friend who is only 2 weeks from divorce, a college friend I used to work with who is only 30, a few women I met on this very blog – one who was also diagnosed around 27 and on Friday the 13th, my aunt, a friend from home, a college friend’s friend who she knew from work, 3 of my sisters friends (or friends of friends), a few women from a facebook board that I have become close with, a coworker and a friend from home. I have also spoken with friends who are around my age from home battling other cancers… 4 to be exact, 4 too many. One didn’t make it and left her 2 young sons and husband to go on without her. It breaks my heart every time I get that message….. “Hi Tessa, I know it has been a while, but I just got diagnosed…” I don’t want anyone to deal with cancer. It is a terrible unpredictable disease that has no mercy. This has to end.
But beyond all of these ugly reminders of cancers, what I really wanted to write about was gratefulness. 3 years ago, I remember sitting in those waiting rooms scared and feeling very alone even though I was surrounded by all of my wonderful friends and family. I remember wondering if I was ever going to be able to do the three things that I wanted the most… 1. Travel the world. I felt like it was something I was putting off every year. 2. Get married… It broke my heart to wonder if my health would allow me the time to find the one that I wanted to grow old with. 3. Have children. I can now happily look at my list and be so thankful because I have been able to travel the world (maybe not all of it – but more than I had, with more on the horizon) and I have found my husband. In fact, he proposed to me in the waiting room while receiving my biopsy results for my ovarian cyst….All I could think of is, “Why the hell is he proposing to me here!? I hate this place!” And then he simply said, “I love you. And I want you to associate this place with happy moments and not just scary things.” He is the best. I never imagined being this happy. We had a smaller civil ceremony in January and in February we are having our larger Catholic ceremony and reception in England. I cannot wait to be surrounded by our family and friends to be able to celebrate our lives and marriage.
No children yet, but the fact that I can still have kids at some point, is a win for me. A lot of my breast cancer sisters don’t have that opportunity and I have had enough scares and mentions of hysterectomy that I try to focus on that future.
As I was finishing up my Christmas shopping today, all I could think of was thankfulness. Sometimes I forget to remind myself of focusing on all I should be thankful for. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the stress and to be grumpy. But I am here. And although my life is not so extraordinary, it is so full of love and happiness. I have a wonderful husband, a job that I love to go to every day, amazing friends and family, faith and my health.
So as cliche as it may sound, just remember to not get caught up in the day to day stresses. Love your family and love your friends. Don’t get wrapped up in the little annoyances that come with life or the little things that your friends and family may do that drive you nuts. Enjoy the little things. Hug your spouse. Hug your friends. Hug your children. Enjoy laughter. And appreciate your health.