Anniversaries also lead to a lot of reflection. It's amazing how something could seem like a lifetime ago as well as that it happened yesterday. I get a little lost in thought; while riding the bus to work, I remember the mornings riding in bald, when the other riders left me a seat to myself; willing myself to get to work on days when I didn't feel well.
I also remember the feeling 3 weeks after the last chemo treatment when I woke up and felt normal and I hadn't been aware of how weird I had felt.
In order to leave my office at work I have to go down the hall that I took every morning to go to radiation. I remember laying on that table day after day, wondering if anything was happening and then towards the end marveling at how hot pink my skin had become. I remember appreciating that the the radiation techs also loved 80's music.
One of the weird, new normal things, that happens with my right arm and pectoral muscle is that I don't have all the feeling in my right triceps. It never came all the way back. I didn't even think about it until I was teaching 20 nutrition students how to do physical exams and had to direct the students away from my right arm, because I couldn't sense if they were testing it correctly. The other side effect of surgery and having the pectoral fascia removed (because my tumor was so close to my chest wall) is that occasionally my pectoral muscle gets stuck and it takes some weird shoulder movements to get it unstuck.
In the 5 years I have learned that 1) I am still a hypochondriac, but 2) there are times that I am really correct and their are some really scary sh*t that happens. I have also learned that having breast cancer on your past medical history makes everyone freak out for every ache, pain and irregularity. I have gotten used to scans, exams, blood work and even colonoscopies. Through it all, I am still grateful I am here and that I beat cancer.
I beat cancer. It's been 5 years and it's still some of the sweetest words you will ever hear. Now, is the time to celebrate. Now, is the time to spend time with friends and family. Now is the time to buy the good seats to see Bon Jovi. Now, is the time to be grateful for having more time. Now, is the time.
Editors note: Boob cake to come in a couple of weeks