Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's All In How You Look At It

My second to last chemo treatment is happening next week. Although I am thrilled to be close to the end of this portion of things, it also raises the question of "what's next?". My surgery is still hanging in the balance, waiting for all of the pieces involved to come together and give me the date. Once my surgery is through, I need to wait for my pathology results to come back "clear" to ensure that I won't have further treatments. I am going to be getting Herceptin through IV every 3 weeks for the next year and will also start to take Tamoxifen orally every day for 5 years in the upcoming months. So, even though one piece of this journey is almost over, I feel that there is a still a ways to go.

Over the past few weeks, I got a call to be a part of a support group. The cancer society started this for young women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. They have found that there have been more diagnoses lately and there weren't many options for women our age to talk to. There are 8 of us and we all will likely have surgery and chemotherapy. Although many of them have already had a mastectomy, I am the furthest along on the chemo path. We have only had two sessions so far, but the most interesting thing that I have taken away to date has been that even with the same diagnosis - what you choose to do with that can vary dramatically.

People that I run into have often told me that they are amazed at how positive I am. I have never really felt that I am particularly positive...I just know that I'll get through this. However, it has not been until I started attending these sessions that I have seen the range of reactions that I may have had. I have stopped myself many times to be thankful for all of you being right along side me and making my journey SO much easier than it could have been! We are meeting for 8 weeks in total and although some nights I feel overwhelmed by the negativity in the room, I know that I am there to try and make someone's journey a bit better. So, I keep going because I know that my persistence and positivity will pay off in the end.

Somehow, the more time that passes, the more perspective that I seem to gain. I saw an episode on Oprah where they were interviewing a group of older women and asking them what things they know now that they wish they knew when they were younger. One of them said “I wish I used that special bath oil more often”. What she meant is that many of us choose to think about the things we want to do more often than actually doing them. How many of us have a candle that we don’t want to light until a special occasion or have some great bath bomb or oil that we’re saving? I know that I did.

In searching for more ways to live in the moment, I came across a great website to help you create your Life List. You might remember me talking about this a few posts ago. If you need some help in creating yours, please visit and see if it can help you. Another thing I’ve done (at the suggestion of Tricia) is to start a Gratitude Journal. I try to write in it a couple of times a week and just write down 3 things that I am grateful for that happened recently. No matter how bad things seem at the time – you can always think of 3 things to be grateful for – try it!

Whatever situations that you might be going through right now, just know that you have a choice. You can choose to let it control you and your negativity or you can choose to put your boxing gloves on and take control of the situation yourself.

Here’s to you getting a knockout!