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  • Raelene

Cancerversary

September 23 marked one year since the scans that told me I likely had breast cancer. September 23 marked one year since my life completely changed. It was on September 23, 2019 that I had scans done to check the lump I had found in my left breast. A lump I was sure was just a result of breastfeeding, a lump I didn't think had any chance of being cancer as I was 28 years old and that's just too young to have cancer. Obviously, I was wrong. I wasn't too young and it wasn't nothing. It was cancer and it changed my life and who I was.


I had been really dreading the day. I just can't believe it has been a year already. I remember calling my mom after leaving from my scans and she told me it would be a hard year but I would get through it. I said I know but it will be the first year of Clara's life and that's not fair. I was right, it wasn't fair. I was still there for her first year, I was there for all the big stuff. I didn't miss anything like I had feared. Well maybe some small things and I didn't get to do all the things I had planned for mat leave. However, I was there and that's what matters. I'm slowly getting back to normal and able to do some of those things I wanted to when she was a baby now with her as a toddler. It has been a year though and the cancer is gone. I'm still struggling because of it and still fighting some of the side effects but it is gone. I survived.


I was surprised to find though that the day before was harder for me. That was the last day my life wasn't about my cancer. That was the last day I had felt like a normal mom and woman. I had a good cry that day, just remembering it all and remembering how I felt the year before on that day, life was so good still that day. I'm not saying my life is bad now but I've been through hell and back so things have changed. If you follow my instagram you would have seen my post that day of a picture of little baby Clara rocking some pink sunglasses like the glam baby she was. That picture was from that day a year ago. I looked at that picture a million times since then. It makes me sad remembering how I was before all of this. I miss the old me still, every day. I miss not having my thoughts consumed by cancer, not having the constant fear creeping in. I miss my long hair. I know that sounds like such a small, unimportant part of all of this and a simple thing to say I miss. The thing is though, I don't look like myself still. Yes, I look far better and like a normal person now which don't get me wrong I love but this is not how I would look if it wasn't for cancer. I would never have had this short of hair in this phase of my life. I don't like my short hair, I like having hair but I hate this look. It wasn't a choice. I sound so annoying I realize, this is really not a big part of things but it's one of the things that's on my mind a lot. I just want to look like me again and maybe then I will feel a little more like me too. I'm getting off track though, these are the things I went through though. I let myself feel it all that day. I knew if I didn't I wouldn't move past it and I don't want to be stuck dwelling on the past.


The day of though I felt way better and I had been sure I was going to have a harder time. Sure I went through the events of that day in my head. Remembering how I felt when I got the news and remembering having to tell Ryan. It all came up and it all made me sad. It helped a lot that my best friend Lindsey spent the day with me so I had my mind distracted. We took a long walk and played with the girls all day. It was good to not be alone and just thinking about it. I think allowing myself to be sad the day before helped me to handle the day better. I want to get to a place where that's a happy day, a day to celebrate that another year has passed. I'm sure next year will be easier and feel more like an achievement to be yet another year away from cancer.


Overall, it was just a day and it came and went. I've been really thankful every day this past week just enjoying the outdoors and knowing that this time last year I was going through such a terrifying time and now I know how it all turned out and can be one of those normal people like I thought about then. I remember thinking how everyone around me could be sad and scared for me but thankful it wasn't them. I mean no one ever said that to me but that's human nature, you all were thinking it. There's nothing wrong with that, I was like that before this too. I'm happy that treatment is behind me. Some days I feel pretty normal and some days are still bad or I'm really tired still. I'm not back to being able to do everything I used to do and my memory is so terrible which gets really frustrating but I try to remind myself this isn't the worst of it. I have my yearly scans in a couple weeks and then follow ups with my oncologist team. I'm definitely getting nervous about that. I know there is nothing abnormal and I had scans done only a few months ago so its highly unlikely there would be anything to worry about but it will always be a fear at this yearly appointment. I'm doing my best to not focus on that though. I'm trying to focus on living my life and not letting cancer be what defines me.


September 30 will be the anniversary of my official diagnosis. At first, I thought I would be more concerned about that date but honestly that day was when it was confirmed but the 23rd was when it all really started and had the bigger impact. I may still be sad on that day but I feel far better prepared now.


I'm happy that I'm a year away from the start of this. I can really look back on how far I've come in such a short time. In the last year, I fought cancer and I won. Mommy wasn’t sick, Clara. She was fighting, fighting to get back to being your mom.


-Raelene



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