Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 28th Again

May 28th 2008. My husband drove me to the hospital. My parents were there when we arrived. It was their 25th wedding anniversary and instead of being out celebrating, they were at the hospital with me. There were two opposing emotions going on that day for me....fear and relief. I have never been so scared in my life as I was when I found out I had cancer. There was exactly 21 days between my diagnosis and my surgery to remove the tumor. They were by far, the worst 21 days of my life. The fear for me during those three weeks was something that was so heavy and real, I could feel it as a physical weight. It stopped me from being able to breathe and I had to constantly remind myself to do so. I had to be reminded to eat because I didn't recognize hunger anymore. I spent every minute of every day worrying about leaving my children and family behind. Cancer kills people-this was all I could think about.

When I found a surgeon that came highly recommended to me, I called his receptionist and literally coerced her into putting me on his surgery schedule even before I met him. I wanted it done as soon as possible. I did not want to give it a chance to move or spread. I wanted it gone. Luckily for me, this great surgeon met me and allowed me to keep the surgery date that I had already put my name on. That date was May 28th.

I was scared, but I was so relieved to be able to take some kind of action to keep it from killing me. I knew that I would have to recover from surgery, and I knew that I would then have to do chemo and then radiation and that none of it would be enjoyable. But I couldn't do any of that without taking that first scary step.

On May 28th I had a lumpectomy and had 4 lymph nodes removed. 4 cancer-free lymph nodes. That night I stayed in the hospital-a place not known for allowing a good night's sleep, but sleep I did. I knew that I had a tough road ahead, but I also knew that I had taken action and I was on my way.

Today I found myself at Swedish Hospital again. I had a pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon, the one who will even me out and give me back some of what was taken from me. I told her that today was my 1 year anniversary from my lumpectomy and that it was strange to be back at the very same hospital. She is a breast cancer survivor as well. She said that many people tell her that the day of their surgery was the worst day of their lives and she tells them they are wrong, it was actually one of the best days of their lives. She's right. May 28th 2008 was the day my life was saved. May 28th 2009 is the 365th day that I am thankful for it.

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