Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today is one of my anniversaries!

I am not sure if anyone is still checking in here (besides Aunt Fizz and Kalanamak, who have been sending very polite reminders), but today seems like a good day for an update.

One year ago today, I found out I had breast cancer. Although, that isn't entirely correct because there were several different days in which I found out I had breast cancer.

Do I count from October 2008, just a few days after the birth of my youngest son, when the very first symptoms started, when I had the first shadow of concern, but before anyone (including a doctor who considers himself a "breast cancer doctor") recognized the symptoms as breast cancer?

Do I count from September 2009 when the symptoms started that WERE indicative of breast cancer, when I did my online research, and in the middle of the night I had the horrible realization that I could have breast cancer, but my doctors dismissed my concerns because they didn't feel I had any risk factors?

Do I count from June 2010 when I went to the FIFTH doctor (after the first 4 told me it could not be breast cancer) who finally said to me "I'm worried about this lump, and I think it needs to be looked at?"

Do I count from July 14, when the breast cancer specialist who that doctor referred me to looked at my breast and said she agreed with my concerns and wanted to take action right away (this was the FIRST time a doctor was willing to DO SOMETHING about my symptoms)?

Do I count from July 16, the day she performed a biopsy in her office and said "I'm worried it's cancer?" At this visit, I had to go into the waiting room and tell my husband that what we feared was a very real possibility. He and I then went into the conference room where several different people came in and laid out my whole treatment plan, because the doctor was so sure that it was in fact cancer. My husband and I left THAT meeting and drove to a different meeting where we found out that we would be losing our insurance 15 days later. We then went to pick up our boys from my friend Andrea's house, and I had to say the words "I have breast cancer" out loud for the very first time (and received the first of many hugs). This was also the day I had to tell my mother that her only child had cancer. That was one of the longest days of my life, and one that I hope none of you can ever relate to.

Or do I count July 19, when the results of the biopsy came back and I got a 30 second phone call at 6:30 PM in which the doctor simply stated "It is what we thought it was." This is considered the date I was officially diagnosed with cancer, though when my other doctors ask "When did you find out you had cancer?" I never really know what date to give them.

So I have decided that ALL of them are days that I will celebrate as anniversaries (because there were many days out of the last 365 that I did not believe I would still be here a year later).

I think I am finally ready to talk about what I have been through, though I admit I just wasn't ready to talk about it at the time. I did try to post an update on several occasions but could not deal with the emotion of it. Over the next few days I will try to update you on how I am doing physically, mentally , emotionally, and spiritually.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, and cards, and meals, and gifts over the last year. I still have not sent out thank you notes (though I did buy some VERY pretty ones, lost them, bought another set, found the original ones, and still haven't opened any of them), but there is NO WAY I could have made it through the last year without the support of my family and friends.


  1. I'm so happy that a "year" later, you're on the road to recovery. What a scary journey you've been on...I'm so glad you have the support system you do.

  2. I am going to guess no one is checking their mailbox for signs of your gratitude. I bet they already know! You are amazing and strong, and I couldn't help but sob a little at this reading. A little for you and a little for your boys. You are so strong, and they are so strong. I am so glad you listened to yourself and kept bugging till you got what you needed. I will keep my heart bent for your continued recovery and a never ending remission.

  3. Great update, Colleen. Glad you are in a better place. We miss seeing you guys.