Yesterday I spoke. I shared my story of babies, and breast cancer. I shared my story of babies, and breast cancer and healing. I shared my story of babies, and breast cancer, and healing, and thriving. All of those topics were covered as I stood at a podium in a meeting room at the Hilton – Downtown Omaha. The same Hilton – Downtown Omaha where almost two years ago, I shared with two couples who honestly are pretty much family at this point, that I might have cancer.
I mean… what the fuck.
Pardon my French, but sweet Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, somehow, some way, even over 700 days later, the fact that cancer was in my body is still sort of flabbergasting to me. Like at this point, I'm fairly certain I lived it all — I've never woken and discovered that it was all a dream. Or rather, a nightmare. I've never received a call that the pathology was a mistake. That it got mixed with someone else's. So I guess, I had cancer.
Two years ago this morning, I felt my lump for the first time. Which, as you may already know, set into play a series of events. That I may now label somewhat fortunate. If I hadn't found the lump, I wouldn't have scheduled and appointment to have it checked. If I hadn't had it checked, my doctor couldn't have ordered me a mammogram. If I hadn't had a mammogram, there wouldn't have been biopsy 1. Or 2. If I hadn't had the biopsies, I wouldn't have gotten a diagnosis. So all told, had I not found my lump, I would have still had cancer… I just likely wouldn't have had my fortunate outcome.
So I guess you could say that two years ago on August 31, it was proven that I am a lucky girl. A lucky girl who got to realize I had cancer before cancer got to realize it was trying to end my existence.
I never know what dates to write about as my anniversaries in all of this. They are many. So I generally start with the beginning. The lump.
And yesterday, I cried. I shed tears of mixed emotion as I shared my story. And then, I began sobbing as I drove home. And honestly, I don't know why. But I'm guessing it was because of cancer. Because I would blame hormones but cancer put the kabosh on those. But I cried. Hard big tears. Two years ago I found a lump and now, in present day, I am getting to help support my family by sharing my story. And I am just a normal girl.
At two years out, what is different? Well. Everything. And yet, nothing. Life feels beautifully simple right now. Beautifully right. Beautifully beautiful.
While I still intend to do all the things I also feel like I have a wee bit of time in which to do them. While I still know that I get and have to live each day, I am hopeful for a tomorrow. And many tomorrows thereafter.
I'm starting to examine more of what I put in my body. How I take care of this case that carries me. And how I can try to help it stay in good carrying condition for decades to come.
I still find that I rarely sweat the small stuff. I still find myself in love with people. I still find myself in awe that I get to be healed. And that God and my Nebraska Medicine team were a miraculous matchup. I still find that I am in jubilation over the act of surviving. And thriving.
I am a survivor. We all are. Different things for each one of us. And mine, well, this particular survival came out of dominating a tiny little lump of cells. What a crazy reason to get to have earned the title of "warrior." But I will proudly wear that badge. Because again, I am reminded daily that not all get the privilege of surviving. Of thriving. Of aging. And of getting a second glance at a first life.
If my first year out was living the shit out of every day than this year, the second year, it might be called, but preparing for a future because I plan to have one. A long one.
Sometimes hard things are truly life ending. Or sometimes, we lose a part of us. Or a loved one. Or one loses their battle and doesn't get to keep on living on here on this earth.
Two years ago, my life did not end. It began anew. It was as if it was completely fucked up and yet, completely repaired. It was as if God has always known what he had planned for me. Geez. It is impossible to dream what he has coming up next.
Today, your world… yes, you… it could get completely flip turned upside down. But maybe, in truth, it is being turned right side up, and you just won't be able to see that right now.
What I thought was an ending of the old me ending up being a continuation of a life that I already loved. But with a comma in it. A comma where cancer began and then, for now, hopefully for always, it ended. And life resumed with much business as usual.
Two years down… and hopefully 6 more decades to go. Hopefully holding my husband's hand when we're raisiny and grey. Hopefully seeing my kids become bigger versions of their tiny selves. And time to see what this life thing is really all about.
Two years ago, I found a lump. And today, I get to be here. Pretty sweet deal.