Ten buddies from college came down to New Orleans for Easter. They came from all over the country to hug me, to see my scars, to celebrate that I survived treatment. I wanted our kids to know each other so they brought their families. This is one of the perks of having cancer. When you say you want something–people jump on it. I am humbled by the effort it took to for every family to come.
Part of this journey for me has been to learn how to live. To live like you are dying–isn’t that a country song? I’m grateful that I have so many friends that are on board with that philosophy. I didn’t have to convince anyone–I opened the door, and they just showed up. Relationships matter, friendship matters, creating memories and sharing new experiences–all of that has always mattered, and it feels essential now.
People have been reaching out to me in so many different ways and every effort has warmed my heart. Despite the fact that I have cancer, I still feel like the luckiest person. The laws of karma have some sneaky tricks.
I went to a dark place for a few months, and I thought for sure that I would be in the 40% of people who don’t survive my diagnosis. The doctors said that I am clear of cancer and I would say “bullshit, how do you know?” My body was scanned before and after chemo but those scans didn’t show 8.5 cm of cancer. So why should I trust that they would show anything on my body? When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought it was going to be a shitty year of treatment, but I didn’t think I would die. Then my post mastectomy pathology came back worse than we imagined. I didn’t realize breast cancer was something that could kill me.
I had to struggle with death and start to embrace it before I could live. My anxiety was through the roof and my emotions were all over the place. Part of my meditation practice is to learn to exist in the space between living and dying. I know that seems like a simple concept but when you are fighting for your life, it’s hard to let go and just be. It was hard for me to write during my dark days but thank you for hanging in there until I was ready.
I am now exploring different options that I can do in addition to the “standard of care” that will improve my odds. Love and happiness is a biggie so thanks again, my Love Fest lovers. I’ve been deepening my meditation practice. I am having a total hysterectomy in July when they do phase II of reconstruction. I’m doing a clinical trial at MD Anderson that starts in September. I’m doing a micro-biome study, which I am really excited about but will have to explain in a future post. I also have a radiation post that I wrote and never sent so that will be coming shortly. I’m on the hunt for a nutritionist that can guide me to a cancer fighting diet that is effective and that I can actually stick to and be happy with. I’m also looking for an integrative cancer place to go to detox from chemo and radiation.