3 Years Ago

3 years ago today, I heard, ” you have breast cancer.”  The words weren’t delivered by my primary physician, but by someone who was covering for her while she was on leave. While awaiting the results of the biopsy which was done a few days before, I started researching about breast cancer, but the actual words still stunned me.

My life has been turned upside down and sideways since then. I spent the next 17 months getting chemo and radiation, having surgeries, getting lots of blood tests and EKGs. I quit my job, took time off, and got another job. My hair is short and curly; I still have a relationship with diarrhea which just won’t end. But you know what? I’m lucky.

I’m lucky that I have tremendous support from my husband, family and friends. I’m lucky that I have good medical insurance which paid for so much of the cost of my treatment. I’m lucky that my mammograms have been clear the last two times, and that I have doctors with whom I have excellent relationships. I’m lucky to be feeling good overall.

The fact is, breast cancer is part of me now and always will be. The tumor which started me down this path may be out of my body, but I still think about it. Not every minute of the day, but I can’t escape the impact that 1.93 cm of tissue has had on my life. What do I think about now? Recurrence. The more time that elapses, the lower the probability that cancer will recur. During my last visit with my oncologist, Dr. P said that once I hit the 3 year mark from diagnosis that the percent change of recurrence for my type of breast cancer significantly decreases.  So today is a celebration of sorts, and I’m lucky to have this celebration.