Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Gotta Know Your Limits

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today, I got good news. The radiologist looked at me and said, "Everything looks good, I don't see anything on the scans that we should be concerned about!" Relief--at least for the next four months until I have to do this again--washed over me.

Thank you for the support, the prayers, and the well-wishes! They truly paid off and I truly am relieved and thankful.

In addition to learning today that my good health is still with me, I learned something very important about myself. I do NOT know my limits.

For a solid month now, my heart has been racing, my blood pressure has been off the charts, I've been distracted, quick to anger, and easy to upset. And while I've been experiencing this month of turmoil (and quietly crying when I get a moment alone, if I'm being really honest), I have not said a anyone...about how afraid I've been. Sure, I've commented offhandedly that I'm "a little nervous" or "hoping for a good result," but I've been doing exactly what I did throughout my 8 months of treatment--I've been more concerned about every other person's delicate sensibilities than with allowing myself to feel fear and move past it.

I really need to know my limits. I let out a sigh today--my shoulders relaxed, my heart slowed down, and the tension that has gripped my body for weeks finally released. It felt fantastic. I've gotta know my limits.

I am experiencing all of this at the ripe old age of 25, which means I have, God willing, many many years of these tests ahead of me. Basically, that means I really need to learn to deal with this in a way that doesn't break me each and every time. For the time being, I have to go through these follow-ups every four months. Later, it will be every six months, and finally it will be once each year. It will be every year. Every. Single. Year. If I don't know my limits, the stress is going to eat me alive.

So what does knowing my limits mean? It means I lean on my husband, my parents (all four of them), my fellow-survivors, and my friends for support instead of shielding them from my fear for what I believe--perhaps mistakenly-- is for their own benefit. It means I learn to take my own advice--find serenity, find courage, find the wisdom to know when each reaction is appropriate. Rely on prayer for the rest.

Today, I begin a brand new year...a brand new cancer free year. I will continue to grow and I will continue to learn how to deal with an "old woman's" disease as very young woman. I thank you for your support, encouragement, and prayers and I humbly ask that you continue to keep those still fighting their own cancer battles in your prayers. I know I do. You know who you are and I'm sending prayers your way!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Year to the Day

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It has been over four months since my last post, but today I feel it appropriate to post again. One year ago today, while I was in the shower--simply getting ready, going through my morning routine before heading off to work--I found a lump, and a very large lump at that, in my left breast. That discovery led to a whirlwind eight month journey (which I foolishly believed would take 5 months when I set out on it), which finally came to a close in November 2009.

Now, on the first anniversary of my "lump day," I find myself afraid again. This time it is not the unknown I fear, but repitition.

Tomorrow, I will go on for my first round of follow-up testing--a mammogram and an ultrasound. I have had two physical breast exams since the completion of my treatment, but other than that, I have been largely under my own care. This is scary. For months I saw doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals on a weekly, semi-weekly, or even daily basis. To have not been under the constant care of a doctor in the last four months is intimidating, to say the least, as I head into this round of testing.

Compounding my stress and fear is a completely irrational line of thinking, which I, for reasons unbeknownst to me, continue to entertain. I have this recurring thought that since tomorrow is the beginning of a brand new year (if I start counting with the beginning of my cancer battle) and that it could be the beginning of a brand new cancer battle. I can't expel the thought. I'm trying...I swear.

All this leads me to once again humbly ask for your prayers, thoughts, and well-wishes when I go in tomorrow. If you're one of those people who likes to get specific, I would request that you pray for a clean bill of health--no calcifications or blooms on the mammogram and no dark spots on the ultrasound. If you like to keep it vague and all-encompassing, please just hope and pray for continued health and wellness for me.

My love and appreciation as always!