I am happy to say that I am on the other side of breast cancer. Cancer free, reconstruction is mostly done and I am back to actually participating in life. Back to my businesses, being social (and this is still a challenge yet I am making sure I do it) and, in general, re-engaging in my life.
This is something I think about every day, not the cancer, the getting back to my life. I wish I could say that everything about the last couple of years has just gone away, but sadly I can’t. Decisions I made last year when I was in the fog of the after are still playing out and I have to choose to let them hold me back or to keep going. Some days this is heavy, I did make some terrible decision, and there will be fallout for a while yet I choose to keep moving forward.
Part of this is knowing I will not let other women get stuck in the fog like I was. When I was in it, I knew something wasn’t right. I was not ok, yet I didn’t know what to do about it. I had a mentor, I saw him every month, and that kept me sane. I also had my friends – they were my lifeline, and I honestly have no idea how they stayed with me since I was so all over the place. Every day I think about how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life.
Letting go of those that are gone
On the other side, I did lose some people; situation and decisions were the cause. I spent way too long beating myself up over that, and now I am letting it go and moving forward.
Here’s the deal, to let go of things you actually have to go back and revisit what it is.
Tell the story (write it in your journal), acknowledge the feels or admit the feelings and then once you have gotten it all out, you can start moving forward.
Carrying the shit is not good for you.
I have done this, and I continue to do it a lot. I am a work in progress and letting go of breast cancer was the easier part of for me. It is letting go of all the other stuff: the surgeries, the challenges, the decisions. There was also some guilt and shame – the guilt of having a “little cancer,” the shame of the bad decisions and how they have affected relationships and me.
What I know for sure
I know I have to do something about it, I have to support other women in getting out of the fog – the hell of the after. I will not stand by and watch other women go through what I did and move on pretending that all is good. I will be open and honest about it, and I will go back and pull these women out of the hell. I know that I would have given anything to have someone do this for me. I am truly fortunate to have the people in my life that I do. I know that they love me, support me and they can empathize, but until you experience breast cancer and having a breast or breasts removed, there is no way you can know what it is like.
I would like to believe I was a minority, that most women do not go through what I did, but that isn’t true. I know that I will do whatever I can for women who are walking my path. One of the ways I am changing the map is with One Boob Down. I will not be quiet, I will not move leaving women behind, I will support them, lift them up and drag them out when needed.
This is my intention!
If you are going through breast cancer, contact me here. And if you know someone that is, pass this along.