Today marks 2 years from when I woke up to find a lump on my breast which would change the way I look at life. The past 10 months from my last treatment have been filled of healing and entering into the next phase of my journey, the survivor phase. Tomorrow we will walk with ~30,000 people to Make Strides against Breast Cancer in
Nashville. This walk is designed to bring a community together to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research and services for patients, and it does just this with laughter and tears along the way. This year I will be walking with my head high and a new sense of comfort in my health and outlook on moving past cancer.
I know I am one of the lucky ones, I am a Survivor. While I still have to take medication and be vigilant about my health, I can say with a high degree of certainty that my cancer is gone and I in turn will not have to face this again. Unfortunately, not all of my fellow breast cancer friends cannot say the same – they will live with the disease for the remainder of their life. These are the women I walk for – the heroes who know they are not able to get rid of their disease and still choose to stand and fight and LIVE. It would be easier for me to try and forget I had cancer and move on without breast cancer being a part of my daily life. While it may be easier to do this, I do not feel I would be exercising my ability to share my knowledge and experience with others to help them be vigilant in knowing their body so that if cancer decides to attack they may have a chance of knowing early on.
Okay, so maybe it would not be so easy to move on and forget. I am still very much healing from the mental trauma of the process. I have been in therapy for ~6 months now and it has been and continues to be the hardest part of healing. My therapist has helped me to understand how my natural tendencies of how I deal with life led me through my process and helped me to physically heal, but possibly did not allow me to appreciate the impact cancer cancer can have. I am still very much working through this process and have no expectation to feel better overnight. There are many days when I come away feeling sad, mad, confused or scared; and learning to accept these emotions and finding a way to move past them is one of the key steps on the path to healing from cancer. I cannot express enough how valuable I find therapy and truly believe it should be prescribed for everyone, especially someone going through a major life event. One day, hopefully soon, we will begin to treat mental health with the same importance as physical health. Until this happens, be your own advocate and decide to put your mind on the same pedestal as your body.
Well that was a lot of ground covered in a few paragraphs! If you want a quick summary:
- 2 years have flown by
- Once a survivor, always a survivor
- Stage 4 Metastatic Thrivers need our support
- Mental Health is a real part of the process – Don’t underestimate the time to heal your mind!
And finally – COME WALK tomorrow if you are in Nashville @8am Nissan Stadium or DONATE to Making Strides and help us continue to push the line forward in this war against cancer.