I’ve lovingly referred to October 18th as “D-Day” or Diagnosis Day. Rather than dread this one year mark, I decided to make it a celebratory day! I invited some of my friends for a cookout and fun! We enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers and sides, and pink cupcakes. We also didn’t forget the pink starbursts! 🙂 I was too busy enjoying my friends to even take pictures really but the sky did show off in all sorts of gorgeous pinks and purples.
My mom had also sent me the cutest flowers at work earlier that day!
I am so thankful for the support of my friends and family throughout this whole process and it meant so much to have them by my side on this day to make it a celebration rather than a difficult and trying day. I’d highly encourage you to find a way to celebrate your one year rather than dread it, if you are also a breast cancer thriver!
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!