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Five years ago today, April 8, at 1 pm…

April 8, 2015

… I was working at my desk at home  when my phone rang. “I’m sorry to tell you that you have breast cancer.”

I could feel my face blanch as blood rushed everywhere. She said, “You have ductal carcinoma in situ, here, let me spell it for you,” but I had already made the quarter turn to my home computer and typed it in Google. “Never mind,” I responded, “I got it,” as pages of links popped up.

No family history, no expectation. I was healthy and training for a June half marathon. The biopsy had caused no concern; I had been down that road before because of fibrous tissue.

That phone call five years ago started a journey that taught me how to use fear to my advantage, about the importance of having a community that I belong to, that ‘standard of care’ means different things to different doctors, and that I had choices about how I wanted to treat my breast cancer. The first surgeon I interviewed (yes, you can do that!) told me I wouldn’t be healed enough to do the half marathon that was in six weeks. The second surgeon told me I would, and I did.

Most of all breast cancer taught me to be grateful. Grateful for the power of my girlfriends and those who love me, grateful for health insurance, grateful for learning about yoga and managing stress, and lots of gratitude for learning what living in the moment really means to me. Mostly just plain grateful to be alive and healthy and able to have done 32 half marathons in these five years.

I wanted to be able to say that I took this event in my life and used it as a blessing, and as I write this with tears running down my cheeks, I think I have. Happy anniversary to all of us survivors!

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One Comment
  1. You are one of the bravest ladies I know. I’m proud to be your friend. XXXOOO

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