One Foot Forward

Checking off the days.

Each radiation appointment feels like I am putting one foot in front of the next and moving forward, but slowly. Driving up to the hospital every day gets old pretty fast, although I shouldn’t complain because there are many that drive much further than I do to the hospital. I guess a factor in it is that being at the hospital reminds you that maybe you aren’t well. I have a calendar at work that I check off each day after I have completed radiation, I need to see the boxes behind me. Progress tastes good.

My updates: My December surgery has been moved to December 27 instead of December 20. My surgeon had to be away for a study he is involved in, so he had to change the date on me. My Radiation Oncologist has decided to switch me from every other day using the chain mail bolus (which pulls the radiation to the skin) to every three days to cut back on the redness and inflammation that is now very visible.

I made a joke to a coworker the other day about “remember when I was healthy 7 months ago.” So interesting that you can feel healthy and great and have something lurking in your body, spreading out and taking over, and you feel fine! Breast cancer luckily tends to involve a lump or some visible sign that something is going on. Not all cancers are like that. It is good that there is screening for many cancers, early screening means less treatment and better possibilities for the patient.

I think I am now a bit of a cynic about the “let’s cure cancer” bandwagon. I described cancer to someone as cells mutating incorrectly and then causing other cells to do the same. Considering the variety of cells in your body that can all mutate into one cancer cell or another, a cure for cancer as a whole seems like an amazing task to take on. Treatment is improving, so are detection technologies. I don’t think that anyone out there is necessarily “unaware” of breast cancer, instead I think we are all overcome with the “it won’t happen to me” phenomenon. When I found the lump in my breast I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get it checked, my response was that it was a lump and that I was just too young for it to be more. If my friends hadn’t pushed me to get it checked I probably would have put it off for at least a few more months.

My thoughts these days are more concerned with the life ahead of me rather than the life behind me. I can’t change that I had cancer. A bit of innocence has been stripped away from me this year going through the true reality of pain, sickness and suffering that I hope to never repeat. I don’t ever want anyone I know and love go through anything terrible, whether it be cancer, pain, or sickness of any kind. I watch my mother’s challenges with her medical issues and I am reminded that life just never wants to play fair for any of us, but my mom raised me telling me that life just isn’t fair.

Life is what you make of the hand you have been dealt and the choices you make regarding which card you want to play. I want to play a good card. I have too much life in front of me to hold on too closely to what is behind me..

Author: Mandi

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