Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SHAKE IT OFF

Summer 2011 - Lake Erie, Pennsylvania
Early in the summer of 2011 I made a trip to the cancer centre for a check up.  I finally got up the guts to ask my oncologist some questions that often pop into my mind but then I push them away.  I am never sure if I want the answer or not.  One question I had was about the medication I was on.  I needed to know how much longer I would have to take it.  The oncologist reminded me that when I first came to them I had a very aggressive cancer that they treated first with chemo.  It was probably far worse than I knew at the time.  Anyway, he was not comfortable with me going off the medication for at least another five years and then we would revisit things.  To hear someone say it out loud and remind me of how aggressive the cancer was kind of threw me off and shook me up.

Summer 2011 - Lake Huron, Ontario
Then I asked that since I could no longer have a mammogram because I did not have my “real” breasts anymore and since I had had a hysterectomy, what things should I be looking for to check if the cancer had come back?  I was told to look for things that were out of the ordinary or a cough that wouldn’t go away or just a feeling I might get that something was not right.  Also, I asked that for breast cancer survivors, if the cancer was to come back, where would it likely occur?  I was told lungs, liver and bones.  Holy crap!  That was pretty scary.

By the time I left the cancer centre I was a mess.  I managed to get out of the building and to the parking garage and as soon as I got in the stairwell I totally lost it.  I could hardly see I was crying so hard.  I was shaking uncontrollably and somehow made it to my car.  Finally I called Mike and could not stop crying.  I had just had the most incredible realization hit me and it hit me hard.  This f*cking cancer was never going to be completely gone!!  No matter how much I ran, or swam or laughed or travelled or whatever – it was always going to be there.  Always hanging over my head.  Always possibly just around the corner.  When I finally got it together I just decided that I would not let this get to me.  I was going to continue living my life and enjoying each day to the max and trying new things and loving my husband and my kids and spending as much time with my family and friends as possible.  I would be healthy and strong and push that dark cloud away until it was nothing but a tiny little speck.  I choose not to live my life worrying about dying. I just had to shake it off.

Shake It Off - Taylor Swift


6 comments:

  1. Hey Tracy, I had no idea what you had been through..."WOW" is all I can say and it may be cliche but words fail me. I was motivated by f*#king cancer to ride 1200 kms on Vancouver Island in 2010 as a member of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, after a couple of my close friends and co-workers were diagnosed. I myself was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2009. It makes me wonder about that town we grew up in...the places we played...the jobs we did...etc. I find your words and outlook inspiring. I wish you continued good health and healing. Andy

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    1. Hi Andy - Thanks so much for your message! That is awesome that you did the 1200 kms on Vancouver Island. It must have been quite a challenge but also a beautiful place to ride. I am sorry to hear about your own diagnosis and hope that you are well. Yes I also often wonder about the health impacts of growing up where we did. I really appreciate your kind words and it is so nice to hear from you. I suppose you will always be the boy next door:-) Lol! Take care. TT

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  2. Great post Tracy. Your positive response is inspiring. Thank you. xoxoAndrew

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    1. Hi Andrew - Thanks for your comment. Hope all is well with you. Enjoy the day! TT

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  3. Ohh my goodness. I have been in your shoes exactly. Just when u think u r in in the clear, did all the nasty chemo, surgery, radiation, drugs etc and feel "normal" it hits u..u r never really clear of it, it hangs over your head.I rememeber doing the exact thing, becoming unglued, after all the tough stuff i went thru after a recheck months later and then thinking,yep it can come back again, no rhyme or reason. It was the docs words of if u get a cough and it doesn't go away....really, do i need to freak out every time i get a cold wondering if that lingering cough is more??I am not going to live my life in the what if state....if i was then i could have done it with the what if the chemo doesn't help away back when. Press on my fellow survivor,each day is a gift!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for your message. Yes indeed each day is a gift. I sure hope that you enjoy today, tomorrow and many more tomorrows. Wishing you good health and happiness.

      TT

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Thanks for reading and for your support!