Monday, 9 July 2012

One Victory at a Time

In the weeks since I shared my recent cancer diagnosis, I have been truly overwhelmed, touched and deeply humbled by the outpouring of support from countless people. These days, it’s so easy to say you have a ton of friends/fans/followers, etc. but it is only through something like this – something that shakes you to your very core – that helps shed light on the fact that there are true compassionate hearts, shoulders to lean on, and hands to hold behind those names.

So, where are we now? We have officially reached the front line of the battle and are taking no prisoners. I’m recovering as well as I can from surgery – cutting out both the tumour and any delusions that this entire situation might have only been a convenient misdiagnosis. It’s definitely very real… and very sore… but on some weird level, I’m glad to have the first step behind me.

I’m pretty sure I make a terrible patient – did I mention that my husband is a total rockstar? – but I’m trying to find my glimmers of light wherever I can find them. The hospital was cold but the medical staff was incredible – and the heated blankets were a godsend!

So through all of the support I’ve been fortunate enough to receive, one sentiment keeps rising to the surface – everyone can’t wait to read the “major victory” blog at the end of this journey. Well, I can’t wait for that either, but because we’ve still got quite a few more steps to get through before this becomes a distant memory, I’ve decided to focus on the “mini victories” we’ve managed to achieve so far…

•    This process can be good for a girl’s ego – I’ve repeatedly been told how young I am throughout this whole process – haven’t really heard that much in days prior!

•    What better excuse to go out and stock up on some pretty new bras? If everyone in the world is going to be seeing them, might as well make them look good!

•    I finally managed to squeeze in a family portrait session – no idea how they turned out yet but at least I can visibly prove I’ve been part of this family too! (Thanks, Anita!)

•    There are some AMAZING resources set up to deal with these types of situations!

o    I found an incredible retail store in Burlington that outfitted me with a post-surgical camisole, support pillow and an avalanche of information and resources – all as part of a complementary support program. So sad that such a shop needs to exist, but so wonderful that it does!

o    I attended a Look Good Feel Better workshop and was shocked at the amount of resources, support and, yes, products I walked away with. Questions I didn’t even know I had were answered, hopefully putting me even further ahead in the game.

•    Did I mention my husband rocks? Forget the white horse – any guy who can deal with post-surgery vomit and empty an ‘ooze sack’ on a regular basis with a smile on his face is definitely my kind of knight in shining armour!

•    I have always been a “Let me know if I can do anything to help” kind of girl. One of the things I will be sure to take away from this whole ordeal is to offer less and do more. Seriously, my heart has always been in the right place, but I’ve learned to take the Nike approach going forward and “just do it”! The meals that miraculously appeared and kept my family fed, the decaf double-tall non-fat latt├ęs that made their way into my hands, the care packages filled with wonderful little time-fillers that just showed up, the playdates for my son that just materialized… I have no doubt that being able to enjoy these benefits while not having to coordinate a single thing definitely contributed to the entire recovery process.

Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things.  ~Author Unknown

And as for the latest medical “victory”? Well, the lump has been removed, the surgeon is confident she got it all, the lymph nodes they took all came back “clear” and I’ve been able to spend the last couple of weeks recuperating and enjoying my incredible family and friends. Whew. Next step is to meet with the oncologist and find out where the course of treatment will take me. Truthfully, this is the part that freaks me out the most, but I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m just going to take it step by step… and enjoy every victory along the way.

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