It’s been a whirlwind of a month for me. It started with having the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. At first, it was hard to think about – one whole year had passed since my world went crazy. But then, I started thinking – one year ago, I had a very steep mountain to climb. I had just begun to have all the tests and had been given more information than I could take in. I had months of chemo that was about to start. And at that point I couldn’t even think farther than just getting through chemo, even though I knew surgery and then radiation would follow. This summer promises to be a much brighter, more enjoyable one for me. I made it through to the other side! I plan to enjoy every second.
Then, it was time for my annual mammogram. On my right breast of course, since there’s nothing left of my left. I had been doing self-exams, but of course I was still worried. I mean, I used to believe it was never gonna happen to me, and then it did. So nowadays, I don’t feel so invulnerable. So they did the big squeeze, and a week later, I got the letter. All’s well!
So, I walked the Survivor’s lap at the Relay for Life a week later feeling pretty good!
Of course, that’s an event that is very emotional. I read all the tributes to those who didn’t make it. I thought a lot about my Dad and my mother-in-law – who both succumbed to lung cancer. I thought about a friend from work who very recently was diagnosed and lost his battle before he even had a chance to try to fight it. The father of my daughter’s teammate who did the same. A friend from church who has already outlived the doctor’s expectations. My Grandma who fought it off and lived to be 93.
My friend Kristina and I walked it together. She said that the woman who gave an inspirational survivor speech last year, passed away before this year’s event. At several points we put our arms around each other and cried as we walked. It’s difficult to explain the range of emotions to someone who has never been through it. Relief, anger, sorrow, joy, worry, guilt, all wrapped up in one big stressful event. Why did I live and not Bill? What if my cancer comes back? Who will still be here next year?
I did see alot of people I hadn’t seen in a while and they were happy to see me looking healthy 🙂 it’s still amazing to realize how many people were thinking of me and praying for me while I was sick. It was also amazing to see many other survivors in the same place for the same reason. To support each other, to give hope to those who are still in the battle, to be alive. You can see it on each other’s faces. They feel the same things I do.
Today was the Hard Cider Run – the goal I set back in January to run the 5K without stopping to walk. I have been running at least 4 days a week since my radiation treatments ended at the end of January. As I mentioned before, I started at 1 mile a day, then added a lap or two every week or so until I reached 3.3 miles a day. I figured that was a good level to maintain and would make the 5K seem easy since it’s a little shorter than that.
This morning started with me waking with a terrible headache from not sleeping well. Tim and Chris were off to a PKSA karate training seminar with Grand Master Kang Uk Lee, his possible last visit to the U.S. As I rushed out to my car to head to the race, I found this on my car hood:
My daughters Challis and Kelsey happily volunteered to make sure that Rea got to her softball pictures and game, and that Andy was taken care of while I went to the race. Then, I was blessed to not only have two friends who ran by my side through the whole race, but had three more friends waiting at the finish line to cheer me on with big signs and give me hugs, a trophy, a ribbon, etc. I ran the entire race without stopping. Goal reached! This was an incredible end to a fairly stressful month for me.