I can't believe that it's January 5th and the holidays are over. What happened? Christmas was almost two weeks ago - where does the time go?
Christmas day was wonderful and seeing that it was my first one-breasted, post-diagnosis Christmas, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. My eyes filled with tears a number of times because in March I wasn't sure if I would see Christmas and here I was celebrating it just like everyone else. The magic of Christmas was alive and well considering that I have a 4 year old niece and a 6 year old nephew who made this Christmas the best one yet. Christmas Eve my nephew whispered in my ear, 'Dad's seen Santa before' and for the next 24 hours, my world was magical. It's incredible to see something like Christmas through the eyes of a 6 year old.
I got to see family over the holidays and some of my friends at home. As 2011 dwindled down to only a few days, I started getting really excited about 2012. Back in June, some of my friends entered 'Team Katie' into a national fundraising campaign, and the driving force behind 'Team Katie', or we'll call her The Captain (aka Kristi), got married on New Year's Eve and so we got to ring in the new year while celebrating a new marriage. I loved every minute of it, what a cool way to ring in the new year.
As we counted down, it was such a different feeling than any other year. Usually, as we count down, I think about what the next year will hold for me and this year I looked back at what 2011 held. Counting down went something like this: 10 - Holy crap I had cancer this year, 9- I don't have a right breast anymore, 8- chemo, never again, 7-my hair is back, 6- I think my periods are back, 5- Where did I put my drink? 4- 2012 Gotta lose weight, gotta lose weight, 3-I can officially say I had cancer last year, 2-I get to kiss this incredible man beside me and call him mine (I am talking about Keith and not some dark stranger I met at the wedding, just to be clear) 1- It's over - happy new year!
Keith and I kissed forever (not gross make-out kissing, just like one of those moments that you don't want to stop. It was like by kissing, we were celebrating the end of 2011 - no more tumours, or hospitals or chemo drugs). It was such a good feeling to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012. I said many times in 2011 that I wish I could hit the fast forward button and land in 2012 and here we are.
I try not to make resolutions because I don't want to disappoint myself but I do have some plans. In 7 days, I have surgery. I am getting my expander out (the temporary implant that is acting as a deformed breast) and getting my big-girl implant put in. If you would have seen my boobs prior to surgery, it would have been safe to say I was the last one anyone thought would get a breast implants - interesting where life takes us isn't it? I had my pre-op for surgery yesterday and other than the blood test (where I cried myself into a panic attack and was sweating profusely [what else is new?]), it went well. I'm really not looking forward to the IV but I just keep trying to tell myself that in 9 days, I won't have to worry about it anymore.
I was telling Keith last night that I am not really all that nervous about this surgery. It's so much different than my last one. I am gaining a body part and not losing one this time, they are not cutting cancer out of my body but just repairing the aftermath of its effects, and the recovery shouldn't be anywhere near last time. I also told Keith that I don't think there has ever been a time in my life where I have been happier. Yes, not everything in my life is perfect, Lord knows the size of my ass is certainly far from it, but I am alive, I have incredible friends, a wonderful family and Keith and I (cornball alert) are seriously, annoyingly happy and I've never really felt like this before.
After surgery, I have a few things planned before I head back to work, which, assuming everything goes to plan, I am hoping to head back sometime in March - taking on a few hours a week to get myself back into the groove. Back in March, I thought this whole 'cancer thing' would be an inconvenience for 4 or 5 months and the thought of being off work for a year was unimaginable and here I am talking about going back to work a year later and I am pretty nervous about it. Will I be ready? Is it too soon?
The fatigue makes me a little nervous because it can be unpredictable but it's more the chemo brain or chemo fog. So, for those of you who don't know, chemo brain is something that happens during and after chemo therapy that can affect the mental processes of your brain. It is a real condition that affects a lot of cancer patients. In my case, I am doing ok but I have found my short term memory isn't all that great (I tried ordering a prescription the other day and when the tech said I was too early by about 2 weeks, I thought she had typed in the wrong information. I went home to find that I had already filled it and already had it in my medical cabinet. I have no recollection of ever filling it). Chemo brain doesn't allow you to think clearly and it can make things foggy. In the summer, during chemo, my dad was asking me a question and my response was supposed to be something like "Oh, I can look that up for you online" and what came out was something like "Why don't I buy you one"??????? Sometimes your brain just doesn't want to cooperate with you. It can be very frustrating and I have a job that requires a lot of multitasking so I fear that my offices will be covered in Post-Its because if I don't write it down, I don't remember it. Regardless of my fears, I am looking forward to getting into a routine again and making money, that will be a nice feeling.
Although going back to work is my goal for the spring, my goal for right now is to prepare myself for surgery and recovery and continue to stay on top.
For those of you who don't know Twitter (check me out at @lovlykatielumps), they have hashtags represented by a "#" and a hashtag represents the topic of your Tweet. So last night when I was tweeting about the Canada/Russia hockey game, I put #2012WJC (2012 World Junior Championship) and #IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) at the end of my Tweet. Today, for this blog post, I would like to add a hashtag (that I use on a regular basis on Twitter) #FUcancer.
For those of you going through cancer treatment right now, I know it's tough but it will get better, I promise. People said that to me and I sometimes wanted to tell them what I thought of their positive attitude, but it does get better. For those of you who have never gone through cancer yourselves, tell someone you know who has that you love them and you're proud of them because sometimes, it's easy for us to assume that once treatment is over that cancer is over and it's not. It's an every day battle.