Fourth of July Fireworks . . .

7 Jul

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, I was in my third month of chemo and Herceptin treatments. I was working full time, juggling the side effects of cancer treatments and work, still trying to play bass and trying not to think about the bi-lateral mastectomy that loomed ahead. Radiation – which didn’t sound all that bad (phew, was I wrong) – was to follow surgery. I was bald . . . although I didn’t mind baldness nearly as much as I currently mind my weird hair do . . . or what I call my “hair don’t” (hair doesn’t grow back at all the same after chemo – it is a completely different color(s) and very different texture – and, well, it is just not very feminine looking – something I really can’t stand). But, it seems pretty petty now to think about that.

Much more importantly, now, a year later, I have clear scans, I am told that I should consider myself “cured”. I still struggle to get my head around that word. Do I tempt fate by using it? Instead, I prefer to just live as though I am cured. That is how I feel anyway. I no longer feel trapped by cancer. The grip of it is gone. Sure, I have another surgery ahead. And, now I know just how much pain that will bring . . . but, I also know that the pain will subside. It is much easier to endure pain when you know it is going to stop. So, I think this second surgery will be better, easier. I hope so, anyway.

This past weekend I rode my bike for the first time in over a year – ten miles in one shot. I was tired, but, not so much from chemo or my recent surgery as from simply not being physically active in a long time. I actually felt kind of like I felt before all of this mess. Okay, maybe my tiredness was a little more intense than the tiredness I would have felt before all of this nonsense. But, it was something a quick nap or rest could easily overcome.

I feel good. I actually even feel great. Except that I would really like to look how I feel. It sounds petty to me, but, I want my long hair back. I want my shape back . . . something that is a work in progress at this point . . . as I am uni-boob. That is weird . . . being a one breasted woman. And that one breast is fake. But, I am getting used to it and looking forward to getting the next surgery over with, getting my second fake breast . . . or, part two of “We Can Rebuild Her”, over with.

I am not sure when this surgery will be. Hopefully, I will have a better idea today after I see my surgeon this afternoon. I am hoping to have surgery by the middle of September so that I can get back to work by the next busy season for my business. If I can not have surgery by the middle of September, then I am considering waiting to have surgery until after my busy season concludes – that would be some time in March of 2011. That seems so far away right now. I hope I don’t have to wait that long. But, I simply can not be out of work much longer, it is not good.

So back to Fourth of July weekend. It was the best Fourth of July I have ever had I think. Not just because in comparison to last year, which was spent alone sitting in my front yard watching fireworks from the military base near my home, but, because it truly was a very special Fourth of July. I can’t remember when I felt better, happier.

I still have pains, I still have limitations in my arms, I still get tired and I still have some side effects from treatment. But, all in all, it is pretty darn great. Great to be here, great to feel things and great to know that I have conquered this disease.

My family and friends have been unbelievable. I know I would not be here without you and I am humbled every time I think of what so many have done for me this past year. I am so grateful.

Love and peace,


2 Responses to “Fourth of July Fireworks . . .”

  1. Sandy July 7, 2010 at 8:34 AM #


    So glad to hear you’re feeling good! Let me know when you want to go walking again. Are we still on for that 5k on the 31st?


  2. cancerfree2b July 8, 2010 at 10:27 AM #

    Hi Sandy!

    I’ve missed you! I would love to walk this weekend, if you are free to do so. I can’t go today, but, could go tomorrow after 4 or 5 pm. I am not sure what my availability is for Saturday (a childhood friend of mine is going to be in town for a few hours with her son, so I told her I would be on call to see her whenever she is free). But, other than that, I am free on Saturday (I just don’t know what time my friend is going to be in town yet). Sunday is completely open.

    I still want to do the walk on the 31st. However, I am not certain if there is a deadline for signing up. I also need to see how much it is (sadly, even though I do not think it is a lot, I have to make decisions based on these low dollar amounts . . . but, I hope to be working sometime again soon . . . ugh).

    I will check into all of that and let you know asap.

    I will give you a call tomorrow to see if you want to go walking in the late afternoon/early evening. We could even pair it up with dinner at Supermex! I would be happy to drive to Long Beach area tomorrow, might be nice to walk on the beach or along the bluff at Ocean.

    Either way, i look forward to seeing you!



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