Thursday, September 12, 2013

Happy "Birthday" To Me!

One year ago today, early in the morning, I was being prepped for surgery at the Stanford University Cancer Center. The decision to have the surgery was one that had been weighing on my mind for months one end. Should I risk it despite the grim percentage of success? Should I forgo the surgery and live my life until the cancer is too much for my body to handle? It was, by far, the biggest decision I have ever had to make. But boy am I glad I chose surgery! Although that morning was full of nerves and anxiousness, I was ready. I kissed my loved ones goodbye, shed a few tears, and got wheeled back into the operating room. And then everything went dark.

I remember waking up and asking right away whether or not I was cancer free, and I think I remember them telling me, "yes." But it wasn't until day two when it really sank in. CANCER FREE. Wow. I had been waiting to hear those words for a very long time. That was the day I remember thinking how blessed I was. That was the day that I began to dream of all the possibilities that were laid out in front of me. That was the day my life began; again.  

As quickly as those euphoric thoughts filled my heart and mind, they were taken away just as fast. As many of you already know, the recovery that followed that very special day was pure HELL. I literally began to starve to death, as my body was not properly absorbing calories and necessary nutrients. I was vomiting multiple times a day. I was becoming weaker and weaker. And as I wrote in a previous blog, I got to the point where I was ready and prepared to die. I went to sleep at my parents so that I was not alone. It was the darkest moment of my life. The surgery was life saving, but the recovery was life threatening. It was a very scary, and very humbling, few months.

Fast forward to today. It is my one year birthday of being CANCER FREE! Happy Birthday to me! And I must say, a few months ago, I would have never imagined that I would be where I am today. Healthy. A proud homeowner. And expecting a miracle baby girl. I have the constant love and support of a wonderful family, great friends and an amazing guy. I had always hoped for this life; one day. But I never thought I would have it this soon. And although times aren't always great these days, pregnancy isn't all I thought it would be, and deployments aren't my favorite time, I am beyond blessed. I am happy. Truly happy. Which I haven't been able to say in years. Even though I am patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop, because that is what life has taught me to do, I am enjoying every minute of it. 

Oh what a difference a year can make! Days of sickness and fear have been replaced with days of hope and dreams for my little girl. Vomit buckets and prescription bottles that used to sit by my bed side will soon be replaced burp clothes and a baby monitor. Months of sitting on the couch, to weak to move, have been replaced with months of home projects and decorating a nursery. And instead of being fed through tubes and formula that I carried in a backpack, I am being fed by pregnancy cravings. All of these "instead"s are MORE than welcome in my world.  

I pray that I remain CANCER FREE for the rest of my life, and that I can celebrate September 12th every year. However, I also know that this may not happen. Being pregnant with my little miracle means that I must put scans and tests on hold for the entire pregnancy. It is very scary to think that it may be back. But worrying does not do anybody any good! So I will keep my hopes high, and focus on what I need to. And if this battle becomes a part of my life again, so be it! I like to think that after what I have been though, I can handle just about anything. :) 

To all of my readers, remember that where you are in life right now is not where you will remain. Things change. People change. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. But regardless, embrace this life for where you are right now! Enjoy every minute, even the tough ones. Because they will mold you into who you will become! 

September 12th, 2012

Me, sporting my new "backpack" of formula
(My sickest days)

My actual birthday April 2, 2012

September 2013

The sting of the word, “cancer” is one I know all too well
My mind began to wander and the tears began to swell
The day my fight began is one I hold very close to my heart
It could have easily broken me down, it could have torn me apart
But at the moment I made a choice to fight, and it was a fight I must win
Little did I know the painful battle I was about to begin
The pain, the tears, the lonely days where I thought that it was the end
Has molded me into the person I am; a better sister, daughter, and friend
I began the fight at a sprint, a walk, and then a very slow crawl
The strength I gained through my cancer battle was worth it after all
Now “cancer free” is where I stand, and I am so happy to be here
A return illness and growing tumor is still something that I fear
I can’t live like that, I can not worry about what is out of my control
So I will love and I will laugh, and live a life that is so bright, so full
I love my life and all those in it, and feel so incredibly blessed
Cancer is just a part of my story, and I can’t wait to write the rest