jillgarlingbw

Survivor since 2003…

It’s with a lot of happiness that I sit down to write this on the 5th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis! It has been a week of reminiscing, reliving the fears, and celebrating recovery. The time has really flown by and as I sat with a woman yesterday who was experiencing day three after her first chemo treatment,  I longed for just the perfect words to let her know she will be OK.

It was exactly one week after my 50th birthday that I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Even now,  the events that soon occupied nearly all of my life for the next 12 months, seem surreal. I think it is one time denial was beneficial! I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation for Stage I disease. I was very lucky it was found on mammogram early. My son was 14 and my daughter 9 at the time. Fortunately, with so much support from my husband, family and dear friends, we were able to keep life on a pretty even keel. I worked part time and had incredible help from my co-workers in covering when I just couldn’t. I took advantage of long naps in the middle of the day. Most of the time, I felt good enough in the mornings and the evenings to really enjoy my family and be “normal”. My kids knew what was going on and we talked about it openly and I don’t think they ever really felt scared. In fact, when I asked my daughter if she would like to write something to go with our picture, she replied, “Mom, I don’t really remember very much about it.” I am so glad that our open and positive approach was that helpful. From the outset, my prognosis was excellent and I felt very assured that everything was going to be OK.

And now it has been five years and I am thankful to be writing about it. It is a life changing journey that I can now say has brought more richness and meaning to my life than I could have ever imagined.

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