D-Day-Five Years Ago Today! Guess What? I am Still Alive, Still Grateful & Still Saying Fuck You Cancer!

D-Day-Five Years Ago Today! Guess What? I am Still Alive, Still Grateful & Still Saying Fuck You Cancer!

This day always brings a wide range of emotions. Today I woke up really sad. I usually push sadness aside and it is rare that I am purely just sad. Today however I woke up with a heavy heart.  First let me say that I am also very, very thankful. I was fortunate or at least I thought I was fortunate at the time. Five years ago I was told my cancer was contained I was lucky and it was caught early. Five years ago I went through a biopsy, Lumpectomy, genetic testing then bilateral mastectomy with and months of reconstruction.  Over the years I have been tested for brain mets and this past summer lung mets.  My life will and has never had been the same. I was lucky; it was contained, last year a little after my four-year cancer anniversary I found out that my original team got it all wrong.  With new insurance and now going to an actual cancer center they retested all of my pathology.  Come to find out, it WAS invasive, I was ER+ and the kicker I was HER+. Not only should I have had radiation, I should have had chemo and Herceptin. But it was now four years later so what to do now? So this past year I have learned to live with the knowledge I was misdiagnosed and under-treated as a thirty one year old. But this past year I also learned to let go more and more and learned to stop looking over my shoulder. I go to the doctors now every three months and it is almost time for another PET scan. But all in all I have learned to stop looking over my shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I am no longer scared every day to find a new lump and I no longer live counting the days until I am dead. I live to live and that is an accomplishment and in that I am grateful I have come this far.
In honor of this day I thought I would take a little piece of this blog from the past and highlight a quote or a thought through out the years. 
I first wanted to start with my facebook post 5 years ago:
DX Day
March 11, 2009 at 8:12pm
Today is my official DX day.. .what is that you may ask. It is Diagnosis day, I have the big “C” cancer that is. As shocked as I may be, in my heart I have known for quite some time It was a fight to get a diagnosis due to my age. I finally feel relieved to truly know for sure. I love my family and am ready to do whatever I have to, to be with them for the long run.

I have breast cancer…. I am 31! Girls check your boobies.. Know your body and trust your body!!!

                                                Photo Taken After My Lumpectomy 

Sunday April 4th, 2009
I can’t deny it; this news of cancer has changed me to the core. As much as I struggle to remain just plain Amber, I am realizing for the remainder of my life, cancer will follow me. Check ups, oncology visits, surgeries, all things I never asked for, I never dreamed up.

24 hours after my breasts were removed

My world has always been bright and big, I have always dreamed big, setting my next goal and then chasing it until it had been accomplished. This diagnosis was never a goal of mine, I never dreamed of chasing it down until it was accomplished. So my world as I knew it, is on pause. My goal of graduating with my degree in psychology has been put on hold, my dream of opening up The Secret Ravine Foundation, a non-profit to help autistic children and families has suddenly been halted. 

Growing My “Foobs”


March 10th, 2010
That simple phone call changed my life; it gave me relief in some ways to know I was not going crazy that something truly was wrong. That phone call also came with a burden, a life long burden that I will forever carry with me. My safety net in this world we call life was taken away from me that day. Yes we will all die one day, in fact we are all on the road to death, to the other side each and every day. However with a cancer diagnosis, the unknowns begin to intertwine themselves in our daily lives. The unknowns of where the cancer may spread next, the unknowns of if a recurrence are lurking around the corner. That is what I hate most about my diagnosis, what I hate most about how cancer has changed me. I hate that cancer took away my safety net, my security blanket if you will… I will never truly trust my doctors and I will never truly feel at ease with my health. That is what cancer took from me this past year.
 

My solo trip to begin to heal

Nothing stopped our dreams, not even cancer

But with all of that said, here is what cancer gave to me this year….

*Cancer gave me a fresh start to become a better person
*Cancer gave me an inner strength I always hoped I had
*Cancer gave me freedom, a chance to forget about material things and learn to care about what truly matters in this life, family, friends, and our health
*Cancer gave me supporters… I had cheerleaders everywhere, in my community, friends, family and even strangers, encouraging me and letting me know I was loved.
*Cancer gave me awareness…I am aware of how devastating cancer truly is to those it is affected by.
*Cancer gave me new challenges… surgeries, pain, recovery, no breasts, reconstruction, pain, dark moments and happy moments
*Cancer gave me a new found beauty to be who I am always… scars and all
*Cancer gave me new vision, new business ventures
*Cancer stripped me of my fears, of my deepest darkest fears.. Death and dying and in return it gave me an incredible peace

One year later


*Cancer gave me the missing element of my novel that I have been working on since 2007… go figure
*Cancer gave me a stronger marriage… I no longer have to ask my man if he loves me today… for I know he loves me every moment of every day… when he held my hand so lovingly, so tightly as the bandages came off.. .it was in that moment I recognized those vowels we spoke to each other on our wedding day… in sickness and in health
*Cancer gave me hope… hope in myself, to move forward even after part of me had been stripped away…
*Cancer gave me a new found love for others who are hurting around me.
*Cancer gave me inspiration.. To be better each day.. To reach for my goals, not, tomorrow not years down the road but this very day.

In 2011… I skipped Blogging All Together: No Posts
Sunday April 8th, 2012
2011, was sort of an odd year for me. I think 2011 was the year my cancer caught up with me. You see I like to stay busy, maybe it is because it is easier to ignore the fear that dwells in the back of your mind after you have heard the words you have cancer. Being busy can help take your mind off the constant nagging that cancer is not done with you. 2011 was the year I slowed down a bit, the schools were doing amazing, and I was juggling being a mom and CEO which gave me time to think about what had happened and what may happen again. The past two years I have had scans, scans and more scans. There was a brain cancer scare and this past August there is a MRI showing a couple of questionable things.
At this point it is just a watch and see kind of thing…, which to me really sucks. If there is something I want to know, I don’t like the wait and see attitude.

In late 2011 I dedicated my time to really working on my novel and I came a long way. It is close to being done, and then I stopped completely. I began to get busy again working on a new project. In the beginning of this year I signed a lease… a big lease on a big building to open a third location. So to say the least I am now swamped and busy launching my new school.
Overall life has been good, I have my days where I believe whole-heartedly that I am dying of cancer. That it is in my body somewhere and they just can’t find it yet. I have my days that I just ignore it all and live it up and party like a rock star. But mostly what I have learned most these past two years is that death will find each of us, it is the one thing that we can’t control. So mostly I don’t fear death anymore. Some people may thing I am odd, because I talk like death is just a normal event. Yes it is sad, but in reality maybe we should be talking about it more. Once you free yourself from the fear of death I think you can live a much better risk taking life.
Well this shall be fun… let’s see where my fingers take us in this blog.
November 2012
You know you are a mess when you have to call your therapist out of the blue and ask to see her. You know you can’t do it on your own when you can no longer to pretend to smile for others, when you just want to be a hermit in your house. Here is where I am… although I am fighting so hard to not be a hermit, I am fighting so hard to not have resentment or anxiety I just don’t want it anymore.

So I am choosing to write, I am choosing to see my therapist… or my nickname for her, my “Guru” I am choosing to open my heart and soul and to be angry and understand where it is coming from. I am ready to deal with my cancer possibly the side of it I never wanted to let in. The side of it, I didn’t realize snuck in while I kept myself so busy to not have to notice. I am ready to find out if maybe my life is about to go on a different course. I am ready to start letting go of old dreams and begin to form new dreams. I am ready to simplify and learn to not always have a project going on to feel as though I am worth anything. I feel that I am at a crossroads, and I am ready to choose joy, peace and contentment.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Four Years Today

Thailand.. incredibly life changing
Today was a rough day for me. Not sure if it was due to my cancer anniversary or due to the fact that I am feeling in limbo on quite a few things. Today I cried and cried a lot. I slept and reflected. Then I got myself together to enjoy my kids when they got home from school.

Today as I reflect over the past four years I reflect on many obstacles overcome, I reflect on goodbyes to what I thought was normal and hello to a new Amber. I have grown as a person, physically (with getting a new set ;0 ) and I have grown spiritually. I have laughed I have cried and I have yelled with all my might with anger over this stupid thing we call cancer. I am more than thankful every day, I have lived and one more than I could have ever dreamed.

Four years ago cancer rocked my world and took a part of me. It took my dreams of living a long life and left me with a constant ticking clock in the back of my head. Cancer gave me more courage to take risks and really learn who I am and how strong I really could be. Cancer took my body and never fully gave it back.

Today as I look back I have some sadness and I have some anger. I hate that cancer took away my safety net to look to the future as a gray or white haired women. I am grateful however that I have had four more years. Four more years to watch every sports game my kids have played. Four more years to watch Gabi learn to read and do her front and back handspring. I had four more years to open a third preschool and to travel to Thailand. I am grateful for four more years to experience the wonderful chaos I love of a house full of six.

I look back at the past four years and smile. Even if I live in pain every day at least I had that day. I have learned to be strong and to be a go getter. Today I reflect, today I look to the coming year and I am honestly not sure what is to come. If what is to come is what I think then I remind my future self to be strong, to love hard and to be grateful for this very moment.

All of us are dying… all of us our closer each day. Some however just get they’re quicker than expected.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Did It , Even When I Wasn’t Sure I Would Be Around To Finish…

It is coming… but not ready yet 
I am sitting in my bathroom with a few candles lit, just got out of a hot bath and feeling a bit overwhelmed. You see it was six years ago in this very bathroom, in the very bath I just got out of that my story idea flashed through my mind. It was like a quick flash of a movie of a story that was being born and ready to take life. It was in the steaming hot bath that I had my ah ha moment. Six years ago I ran down my hallway buck naked, (yes naked) dripping with hot bath water and yell whispering (you know that loud but quiet voice us moms have when we have kids sleeping but need to get our partners attention) “I have it, I have my story. I finally have the story to write.”

You see since I was a child I dreamed of being an author. I wrote several short stories as a kid and wrote in many, many journals. But it wasn’t until that night in 2007 when I thought it might be possible. So that night I began to write, I began to my journey as an author.


Family in Thai & My Tree For My Journey In This Life
I now don’t really care what others think of me


Today:
I am here, I am alive. Since my diagnosis I never stopped. I never let cancer take over my life. Yes I have my day that I want a pity party but really who has time for that. In five years I am stronger than ever, I am stronger physically and mentally. I am free to be who I truly want to be and more importantly I am loved and I am able to give love. I am changed… for those who are just starting the journey know you are beautiful, you are strong and no matter what never let cancer identify who you are. 
I don’t know the future, known of us do, but I “Love Life… and Have Lived An Amazing One!” (I heard this recently and it is so true.) I will continue to live a freaking amazing life with no regret! Fuck you cancer… you didn’t stop me from being the best person I can be!

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