Well, I have reached the point where I think my journey is near the end. I am officially cancer free and 5 years from now I can be officially a survivor (personally, I consider myself a survivor already). I am now on tamoxifen long term. My surgical scars have healed nicely and I am pretty much back to normal. I guess you could say I am now just coasting to the finish line. I will have my first mammogram 5 months from now, see my oncologist once a year and the surgeon every three months for the next couple of years. The standard of care for women with my diagnosis is mammograms every 6 months for 5 years but that should change at the Breast Cancer Meeting in San Antonio this week—the new standard will be once a year with more frequent follow up after the 5 year mark. Another change that may be on the horizon is longer estrogen receptor blocking therapy especially for pre menopausal women. After 5 years I will probably switch to another blocker until I hit menopause—there is some evidence that women become refractory to the original drug over time. Of course since tamoxifen causes forced menopause I just get to go through it for a decade longer…. Not a bad trade off in the end though.
I have so many people to thank along this journey especially those who sent me their support in so many ways. Most of you know that I am not one who prays, I made a covenant with God the day Tiger Lily was born, I only pray for her and you can guess what those prayers are. In return I promised God I would never ask for anything for myself, even on my worst days I couldn’t break it and I appreciate all of you who offered their prayers for me. For all of you, I appreciate just as much the letters, emails, comments, phone calls, hugs, thoughts and the “boy this just stinks” that came my way. There is no way I could have made this trip without you. There are so many of you that I would love to name here and say thank you but I also know that this is the blogsphere and well… I have a present for each and every one of you and hopefully after the Christmas rush it’ll be finished and on it’s way to you.
The one person who I will talk about is my Tiger Lily. I could never have survived this journey without her. She is my light, my reason to keep going on the days when I wanted to give up, the first person I think of in the morning (most days because she’s crawled into bed with me during the night and I have to move her arm to turn off the alarm clock), the person who cheered the loudest with me when my radiation was done, the person who said that it’s okay mom whenever we had McDonald’s again for dinner and the last person to kiss me at the end of the day. For those of you who know her, you understand when I say that I see so much in her eyes. For those of you who haven’t met her yet—well, you never know when the wild child and I will show up.
I read through this entire blog including all the comments the other day and I’m amazed at how far I came in such a short time. I smiled, laughed at some of the silly things and remembered how scared I was that day in June when the lump that started this whole journey was found. The serendipitous part of all of this was that that lump wasn’t even cancer, but if it hadn’t been found I would have never known about the cancer until much later. Thank you.
So, where to from here? Although this is a blog about my journey to survive breast cancer I have found that blogging isn’t such a bad thing after all. I’m going to continue to blog here but when the New Year starts this will become a blog to chronicle my journey to live after surviving one hell of a summer. I will occasionally still post about my breast cancer but I’ll also blog about life in general and how I’m using my second chance. Basically, if you want to read about my boring life, well here’s your chance. If you want to stop I understand perfectly. It will be uncensored and will contain some things that not everyone will like—if I ever decide to start dating I do promise to share the funny stories and I will continue to talk about all the fun things Tiger Lily and I do. In addition, I’m going to stop moderating the comments—if they get snarky though I will remove them so be warned. This way there can be more of chance for my family to talk freely with me and each other (if they read it anyways) without me having to answer an email every time.
Finally, thank you again. Those who sent me their sincere and heartfelt wishes, I love each and every one of you. As Tiger Lily says, dream of pink tulips tonight…..
Ciao with big hugs and kisses!