Girls, I am so ashamed! I am ashamed that I let almost three months pass by without documenting everything that has happened. I started this when I was first diagnosed so that you both, when you are old enough, could have my memories, reflections, and true emotions surrounding my journey with breast cancer. But you will realize as adults that life sometimes flashes before your eyes and you had no idea that much time had passed! My last entry was when I was emotionally struggling after surgery...since then I have returned to work full time, completed 28 radiation treatments, Taylor played her first year of softball that Dad and I coached, we participated in Relay for Life, and school is out for the summer. Nine months ago, time felt like it was moving so slow...and now it feels like I was diagnosed yesterday!
Well, let's just get the great news out of the way----I am CANCER FREE!! I've never been so happy to type/scream/shout/sing two words in all my life! (although ''I do'' and " It's a Girl" rank close up there!!) I have successfully completed 16 chemotherapy treatments over a five month period, recovered from a double mastectomy, and finished 28 radiation treatments. All of that has lead to my body being CANCER FREE! I struggled emotionally after surgery but every week I saw improvement in how I felt physically and within six weeks, I was back in the swing of things (work, life, motherhood)! I still have some residual effects from surgery, like range of motion issues with my arm and numbness, but otherwise, I'm feeling quite healed. I started radiation therapy about four weeks after surgery and completed all 28 treatments at the end of April. Radiation therapy for breast cancer patients usually makes their energy level go down, like you've spent hours out in the summer sun, and burns your skin, as the beams are pointed directly at it. Luckily, the radiation was not bad--my energy stayed up and my skin did great! I was so lucky with that because I encountered lots of other women who did not do as well. I was also proud that I was able to work again during treatment!
Now that the ''curative'' phase of this journey is over, I've been released from my Surgeon (Dr. G--you are the BEST!!) and from my Radiation Oncologist (appreciate you too Dr. S and Dr. T--your staff is amazing!). I am now on to what I consider the ''maintenance'' phase. I have to take a oral medication for 10 years--yes, I said 10 years--so by the time you are reading this, I will hopefully be done. This medication will shut down my hormone receptors, decreasing my chances of a recurrence. This medication has some side effects which I am (and you both and Dad are) dealing with, but nothing I can't get over. I mean--I've already beat cancer!! I also have to have an infusion of an IV medication every three weeks for a year (also shutting down my Her2 receptor in attempts to prevent recurrence) but that medication has little side effects. The only down side is sitting there for an hour and half every three weeks! But I do get to touch base with my Oncologist every three weeks, which makes me emotionally feel better---and I must say, I truly enjoy visiting with Dr. S. She has become one of my most trusted physicians and, as I told her when I finished chemo, she never treated me like a ''patient'' but like a friend. And for that, I cannot thank her enough!! Dr. S recognized what was important to me--like Dad and you girls--and made sure that I was well enough to do all the things I wanted to do. She definitely kept me in a positive frame of mind, which is half the fight! I also have a couple of other ''minor, less invasive'' surgeries to complete by the end of 2014, which will be here before we know it.
So with all that said, now that I am CANCER FREE, we are trying to find our new normal. I'm in the best place emotionally I have been in in years. Being able to endure chemo, surgery, and radiation has made me realize that I am stronger that I ever knew I was. I am truly proud of myself--I feel like I can do anything that I put my mind to! With my new found confidence and motivation, I am working to get my body in a healthier state that it has been in a long time. Eating right, exercising, spur of the moment living...focusing on things that I haven't for years. By doing this, I will be a better wife and mother to you both for years to come! And I am going to continue to blog...there are still so many things I want to document about this journey for you both to have. In future letters, I want to discuss how this journey has changed my spiritually (Thanks be to God for providing complete healing to my body!), how incredibly well you both dealt with this diagnosis, about the AMAZING community support we received, and so many other things!!
But I will leave you with the recent picture of Dad and I--it exudes the happiness we are experiencing that this journey is behind us, that our future as family is limitless, and that unconditional love for one another can heal all things (plus I am loving my new curly do)!
Love you the mostest--Mommy