Well, in just a few short hours I will officially be able to flash these words on a t-shirt:
That’s right, mes amis, today is the day I have been waiting for since my mastectomy in 2011. Today the re-construction on my left breast, which started six months ago, will be completed. AND, as an added bonus, “rightie” will be fixed up to match the perky and youthful looking left breast. I always wanted to get my boobs done. But this is not how I envisioned it happening!
This surgery will mark the end of a very long journey for me. Tomorrow, April 7th, is my 5 year cancer-versary. It is hard to believe that five years have passed since my surgeon looked me in the eye and said those three little words that would forever change my life, “You have cancer.” I burst into tears, “I’m going to die!” I yelled loud enough for everyone in the hospital to hear. Well, it has been a rough battle, but here I am, five years later, alive and kickin’………. and cancer free!
With stage 3, grade 3 cancer, my prognosis for surviving to the five year mark was sketchy; just over 50%. Even though I have made it this far, that does not mean that the cancer won’t ever come back. For the rest of my life, I have about a 30% chances of having a recurrence. That’s why I do whatever I can to reduce that risk, including clean eating, exercise and spiritual exercises like meditation and reiki. My battle with cancer did not end when my treatments ended. Every day I continue to fight! Through my lifestyle choices, I aim to make my body an environment where cancer is not welcome. (If you would like to learn how to do the same, hit the link to our book to the right.)
Five years. WOW! A lot has happened in five years:
-As of today, I will have had 4 surgeries.
-I suffered through four months of chemo.
-I endured 25 radiation treatments.
-I fell in love.
-I fell out of love.
-I fell back in love again (this time for keeps!)
-Both of my older children, Kaitlyn and Donovan have finished high school and are doing well in University. (I can’t believe I have two “grown children”!)
-My youngest, Ben, who has autism, continues to surprise me with his progress every day.
-I wrote a book, which became a best seller.
-I started a blog which has won several awards.
-I stepped WAY outside of my comfort zone and became a motivational speaker, with my TEDx Talk being one of the highlights of my life!
-I lost contact with two of my dearest friends.
-After four years, I reconciled with these friends, and learned the power of forgiveness.
-My sweet dog, Patches, died.
-I have traveled….to Nashville, Halifax, Ontario, Alberta, B.C, Boca Raton, New Orleans, Florida, and I have enjoyed many “stay-cays” in my own beautiful province of Newfoundland.
-I temporarily lost my breast, my hair, my health and for a while, my hope.
-I found my spirit.
Cancer took a lot from me, but it also helped me to find parts of me that otherwise may have gone undiscovered. I can’t say I am grateful for the cancer, but I am certainly grateful for the changes that have come about in my life because of it.
In my Psychology practice, I have this saying that I tell my clients: “We all have crappy things happen in our lives, and we all have happy things happen. Do you CHOOSE to focus on the crappy, or do you CHOOSE to focus your attention on the happy?” Happiness is a choice that I have made. Misery could equally be a choice for me, considering my many failed relationships, my diagnosis of cancer, my son’s diagnosis of autism, and the many challenges that brings. Of course I have had my share of miserable days, but for the most part, I consider myself to be a happy person. Happiness is a choice, my friends…..do you choose to focus on the crappy or the happy?