A year ago today, about this time, I was prepping for surgery to remove a small tumor and the cancer from my left breast. I was nervous but eager to rid myself of this thing that was invading my tissue and had become for a short time the focus of my life. I was anxious and afraid and not sure what was ahead, but I was confident in the team that had come together to help me in my fight. I had great doctors, a great surgeon and a great support team between my family and friends and for that I was very thankful.
I went through surgery that day and came out ready to fight. I think I had been mildly in denial up until that point. Post surgery, once I healed, would be daily radiation for a month. I did not need chemo, fortunately. We had caught my cancer very, very early.
This year since diagnosis, surgery, radiation and recovery life has been good. I have taken more moments to be in the moment. I have been joyful, thankful and appreciative of these moments in my life that are just a little sweeter having come through something that was scary. Life is precious, and fragile, and sometimes it’s good to stop and think on that — as long as it doesn’t stop you in your tracks — as long as you use it to propel you to do more, be more, embrace more fully all that life has to offer.
This weekend is our women’s retreat for our church. Last year when I attended I had just been diagnosed and I was still digesting it. I was still newer at church and didn’t know a lot of people and most who met me had no idea what I was going through — just like I had no idea what they might have been battling. I just spent the weekend learning and growing and connecting with these women and feeding off their faith and hopes while we were together and it gave me so much strength.
This weekend I am going in a healthy place, both in body and in mind. I look forward to soaking in all that God has to offer me through this retreat and through these women — some of which, a year later, I have formed great bonds of friendship with. I am so excited to get away and spend time with them — but I am also aware that there will be some in attendance who are hurting, or scared, or just going with the hopes of connecting, and I hope in some way I can be that person for them as others were last year for me.
I am thankful today to mark a one year milestone — and each milestone from here out will be even greater. I am thankful for God’s grace in placing such a talented team of doctors around me when I needed it most, starting with my primary doc who rode my butt until I got in for my mammogram. I am thankful to my husband and kiddos for supporting me and keeping things real at home while I went through treatment. I am thankful for the friends who rallied around me and for strangers who reached out when they met me and heard what I was going through. And I am thankful to stand here a year later and to have the opportunity to celebrate that I am cancer-free.
I can’t wait to see what this next year brings and all that I will be celebrating when this day rolls around again! It’s all an adventure, and one I am so very thankful to be a part of. Amen!