A year ago I sat with my mom by my side in a small room that seemed dark. The nurse had walked us back and then said it would be a few minutes while the Radiologist finished up a procedure.
Those were the longest minutes of my life – just waiting to hear the confirmation that I did have cancer. When the Radiologist came in, he confirmed that I did have breast cancer. I remember the room feeling that much smaller and darker in those moments. I had no idea what my future held at that time.
Luckily, I continued to have both my parents by my side to help me make decisions in those following weeks. For me, this only resulted in a bi-lateral mastectomy and now some drugs that I’ll be taking for ten years.
While I knew I had the support of friends and family, I definitely remember feeling alone. Through my journey, I reached out on MeetUp to a Young Survivor’s group and ended up meeting someone to talk me through things and she has now become a great friend. Even through meeting others who have been through the process, I can say for myself, that it’s an emotional roller coaster. There are days where I’m absolutely fine, which I feel like is the majority of the time;but, then there are days where I still feel alone, days that I feel less than worthy, days that I look in the mirror and just start to cry.
Through this year, and thanks to my MeetUp friend, I volunteered on the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer committee. And, I even spoke with my mom at the kick-off breakfast. I was honored and met so many very special women.
The past year has definitely made me do a lot of reflection – I’ve learned who my true friends are, who I can count on no matter what, made new friends, made me realize what’s important and of value to me. I’ve also realized that a cancer diagnosis affects your whole life, not just the treatment periods. This has made me realize I need to check in with others (even if they haven’t been diagnosed with cancer), you never know what someone is going through – just a brief text message could change someone’s day (I know it has for me!).
Here’s to the next year, to the other survivors, thrivers, and fighters!