There is nothing like a cancer diagnosis to get you thinking about life……
- Have I accomplished all I want to accomplish in my life?
- Has my life turned out the way I envisioned it would?
- What are the important things in my life?
- What should I stop doing?
- What should I start doing?
At the end of July 2018, I went for my normal yearly exam feeling great and having no unusual symptoms. Two weeks after that I found myself having a biopsy, being diagnosed with endometrial cancer and making an appointment with an oncologist. Life sometimes throws you a curve ball when you least expect it. Just a year before I had retired from my accounting position to help my daughter and son-in-law with their three year old and brand new triplets. I was very busy and people relied on me, I did not have time to be sick!
Insert laughter from above here…..like I had any control of the situation at all! Within a couple of weeks I had surgery and started an eight week recovery where I could not lift anything greater than 10 pounds. That certainly ruled out picking up my sweet grandchildren. The time was good for me though, I did some self reflection and slowed down for the first time in many years.
I am very fortunate to have had a very early cancer diagnosis and one that is highly curable. A quick surgery with no chemotherapy or radiation treatments seems to have left me cancer free. I thank God for that! But being the human that I am, it is not a surprise that the mind will wonder down paths that are dark and not pleasant. I truly have no fear of dying because I believe in God and his merciful grace. However, when I thought about having to say good-bye to my loved ones I was struck with such pain. It was a scenario I could not fathom……just too hard to consider. I am in a much better place now and know I do not have to travel in that direction for the time being. Obviously we will all be there someday and in retrospect it would seem like such a gift to be able to say good-bye if that time comes. So many lose loved one’s unexpectedly and do not have that chance.
I visited my oncologist today for my “End of Treatment” appointment. I was told there is about a 5% chance in my case that the cancer will return. Pretty good odds I think! I will continue to visit with the oncologist every three months for the next three years and every six months for two years after that to keep close tabs on my health. Honestly I almost feel bad about telling anyone I had cancer since for me it was such a quick event with a successful outcome. So many others fight this disease for years and even lose their fight. My oncologist told me that this is a common feeling for those in my same situation but I need to remember that each cancer diagnosis is unique and each person experiences a different emotional reaction. Depression and even a fear of recurrence can cripple even the strongest person.
For me, I just want to concentrate on being thankful and grateful for my family, my friends and all the experiences I have had in my life. I hung this sign up recently and I hope to practice this everyday!