This is a topic that I have been thinking about for a long time and every time I try to get it down on paper or blog about it the words don't seem to come out the way I want them to. I was talking with the hubs last night, trying to explain to him about how although I am not happy that our lives were disrupted because of my breast cancer, but if I were standing at the fork in my life and had a choice to go down one of two paths:
1. A life without breast cancer: Working day-to-day, enjoying our home, my husband, family and friends but not truly appreciating the little things in life.
2. Having breast cancer: Going through things that I never imagined, having thoughts and feelings that I did not expect to go through, meet some of the most amazing people ever, but come out a more aware, stronger individual who has learned to put things into perspective and has a greater appreciation every morning I wake up.
I do not think I would change the way my life has gone.
I know you are probably thinking I have fallen off my rocker. My husband looked at my like he was about to send me to the mental hospital, but he understood where I was coming from. I told him that through this journey, I have met some of the most fantastic men and women, all who have fought their own battles, some have won and some have lost, but they have all made a profound difference in my life and if it weren't for my diagnosis I would not have met them. If it wasn't for my breast cancer diagnosis I wouldn't have gotten the chance to meet Denise and have her photograph my journey or Heather, who, with Denise, helped to make my transition into being bald actually fun. If it wasn't for my breast cancer I wouldn't have had the chance to meet Lara or James in Infusion. They made going to chemo fun and something I almost....and I emphasize on the almost...looked forward to. If it wasn't for breast cancer I never would have thought to go through a full panel of genetic testing to find out about my Li-Fraumeni and want to pursue further testing on my embryos once that time comes.
At the same time my breast cancer caused me to have scars that I will carry for the rest of my life. The physical scars are nothing, those are battle wounds that I wear proudly and have no problem showing, but the emotional scars are what scare me. My breast cancer brought fears to the surface that I never thought I would experience.
Now don't get me wrong if there was a way that I could have met all of these people without having to go through this I would, but that is what I struggle with: Feeling blessed to have met all these amazing people and have my faith in humanity restored but have to go through hell and back...
I have always been the type to want to make a difference. I have a big heart and know that people are put on this earth for a reason and my reason was to help others. Through my pain and tears I hope to bring light and hope to someone else who is diagnosed, not just with breast cancer but any type of cancer. I hope to make them not feel alone with their emotions and realize that anyone who is diagnosed goes through similar feelings and pains. I hope to bring awareness to others about their bodies, and if they feel that something is wrong to follow their gut and get it checked out. I was Stage 2 and my cancer was aggressive. If I would not have gotten my lump checked out, I know I would have had a much harder battle.
If I had a choice to go through life without breast cancer and be who I was before or have gone through breast cancer and LOVE who I have become. I would choose the latter of the two. If there is one positive thing that I can ALMOST "thank" breast cancer for, it would be that I am thankful to breast cancer for giving me the chance to truly appreciate every morning that I wake up, a loving husband who although he drives me crazy, has been my rock through everything, my family, friends and coworkers who have supported me beyond belief and to have been able to meet some pretty amazing people that I will never forget.