Seven Years by Mary Beth

Shortly after midnight on Saturday my daughter and her friend gave me this beautiful card case to hold my business cards.

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Sunday was my seven year anniversary as a Breast Cancer Survivor. On Friday, I ordered a cake for myself to celebrate this day.  I don’t really drink, I don’t do drugs and I have never smoked and I still got cancer… so yes I eat sugar.

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I asked my closest friend in California, (who was literally the first person to hear the news as the Doctor called me at work) to come over and celebrate with me.

The day started out a little later than I had planned, I was running late for church and the chapel that I attend is very small and difficult to sneak in late. I decided to go to the church that we belonged to when we first moved here (and during my treatment) as their mass starts 15 minutes later. This parish had been talking and planning and raising money to build a new church when we became members. I do believe things happen for a reason and as I sat in the church I became very reflective on the past 7 years. I sat in the old church and prayed to heal and survive when I was sick. Now 7 years later I sat in this new church and so thankful that I am still here.
Cancer changed my life forever, not all bad, but changed nonetheless. I am healed on the outside, but sometimes the emotional side still creeps up on me. A few months back I had a “touch-up” procedure done. Before I left work for the appointment I looked at myself in the mirror and thought outwardly, most people that I meet now, have no idea that I am a cancer survivor. My hair has grown in and they can’t tell that it is much thinner than before. My eyebrows and my eyelashes have grown back and my eyelashes hold mascara again. My scars are not visible when I am dressed. People cannot see the effects of the aromatase inhibitors. But as I lay on the table with the greatest leopard hospital gown on… the tears started streaming down my face. I was back 7 years ago as they wheeled me into the operating room to remove a part of my body. I have learned we must allow ourselves to honor these moments as part of the healing process too.

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Today the tears streamed down my face again, so many emotions. Happiness that I am still here, gratefulness for all of the people that supported, prayed and helped me. Sadness for many of the people that I met because of the cancer that are not here anymore. I wrote and delivered a note to another close friend at that time, who had helped me with the kids. Our lives have now taken us in different directions. I sent a thank you text to Lou for supporting me during my treatment. We were close to divorcing in 2006 and then I was diagnosed. We decided to stay together. We tried for another 5 years, but it just was not meant to be.
After honoring those few moments of tears and emotions I was off to enjoy my day. I walked my favorite island and visited my friend who is still recovering from a freak illness. He congratulated me and then asked “did you think you would be sitting here 7 years later?” “Honestly, I was not sure, but my Doctors were.” was my response. They told me it would be 12-18 months of hell and then I would have a greater risk driving on the freeways.

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I treated myself to one of my favorite childhood candies while relaxing for a pedicure.

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My friend and her daughter came over and we celebrated our friendship… and the girls ate CAKE!

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The only part missing in the day was seeing my Dante. This was his weekend with his Dad and his future Step-Mother. Other than that…
I am a survivor.
I am alive.
I have so many amazing people in my life that care about me.
It was a great day.

cross-posted at marybethvolpini

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8 Responses to Seven Years by Mary Beth

  1. Kasey Rocheleau says:

    I am a thyroid cancer survivor and melanoma cancer survivor. I am 38. I was pregnant with my second child when both cancers were discovered at 34. I had my beautiful son and then had my thyroid removed.I have had many side effects from the Thyroid Cancer Suppression Therapy (too be as hyperthyroid as possibly tolerable) that I have to take for a minimum of 5 years.It has been difficult on my marriage, but we are pulling through because of our love that was there before cancer entered our lives. My career as a surgical nurse has suffered greatly and I have been off work for 2.5 years after trying to work modified work for 10 months while being quite hyperthyroid. BUT I am here. I to, thought I might not be, but my Doctors’ were very optimistic. I am told I am healthy now.I have been able to watch my children grow and start school. Cancer has changed my life forever, too. Both good and bad, as well. I haven’t celebrated each year as a cancer survivor.To me, it was just a reminder, but your story has inspired me to spoil myself on my yearly anniversary. Maybe I’ll go to a day spa, eat cheese cake and relax in the hot tub with my family on that day. Thank-you for your story and the inspiration to celebrate myself and my day!!!!!!!!

  2. Kasey, I am so happy that you are healthy and can see your children grow. I am almost more excited for my anniversary day than my birthday… but I will eat cake for both!

    Cheers to you!

    Mary Beth

  3. Bethgo says:

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 2nd of this year. I have two boys that I desperately want to see grow up. I love them so much. I’ve gotten through surgery and am waiting to heal to begin chemo and radiation in a few weeks. I am glad to read of people who have made it to the other side. Please keep blogging. Congratulations on your anniversary.

  4. Jenster says:

    My 8 years was yesterday. Thank you for expressing so many of the same feelings I have.

    Here’s to another 7 x 7, etc. :)

    • Yeah Jen!!

      We have mourned so many of our friends here… I think we all need to celebrate our milestones too. I think Susan and Sarah and Nicole and our other friends would want us too.

  5. Daniel says:

    I’m happy for you, Kasey! Many cancer patients were too pessimist and you weren’t one of them. Now you’re healthy you’ll see your children grow up.

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