I’ve decided that I need to think bigger. Fear has often kept me back from expressing myself as I want to, trying things that are hard, being my true self. I guess I’m afraid of being misunderstood or making mistakes. As I get older, I find myself getting more upset when things happen that are outside of what I expect. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe I want to control things as much as possible in my life. Having breast cancer a couple of years ago increased my need for control I think. Like I write down everything that I eat every day. And I get worried if I don’t exercise five times a week. These activities do help me feel more in control, but I am beginning to lighten up a little.
I need a vacation. I need to go somewhere cool and fun. To walk along a beach or on a street teeming with interesting people, places, and things. To feel uplifted and fancy-free. To read an entire chapter of a book at one time and not feel guilty. To not think about my health or money or work or obligations.
Yesterday was Jim’s and my five-year anniversary of being a couple. We’ve been through a lot together. Me being a widow, his stress in graduate school, my brother’s suicide, his father’s operations, my cancer. There have also been a lot of great moments. Like the wonderful hikes we have taken, the weddings we have attended, the good times we have had with friends. This year promises to be an interesting one, with change almost certainly being the main theme.
Last weekend, I found a lump on my right breast. I dismissed it for a day or two. Then, on Wednesday, I felt it again in the shower. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to get it checked out. Later that morning, I called the cancer center from work. They saw me the next morning. To my relief, my oncologist thought it was probably changes from the breast reduction I had in November. They did do a mammogram and ultrasound though. The radiologist couldn’t see anything on the ultrasound. Also a good sign. She said that they would keep an eye on the situation. I am due to have mammograms of both breasts in June.
Before I saw my medical team on Thursday, I was really freaking out. Not again. Not so soon after treatment. My oncologist had told me earlier this year that my risk of recurrence was about 20%. I am trying to do things that will minimize the risk, like maintain a healthy weight and exercise every day.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of last year. Now, I am basically done with treatment. Although, I will be taking tamoxifen for five years. On Saturday, I leave for Tampa to see my best friend. Other buddies from Pittsburgh and Morgantown are joining us there for a post-treatment celebration.
I don’t know if it’s PTSD from all of the cancer treatments or something else, like getting older, but I find myself forgetting things more lately. Don’t panic. I don’t think I have dementia or anything. It’s just that I have trouble remembering little things sometimes, especially if I am out of my normal routine. I’ve always prided myself on having a very good memory. Maybe it’s good to forget some things though. I also tend to ruminate on the past, which can cause anxiety and depression. Many people have these tendencies, I think.
I have six days of radiation left. The treatments are making me tired. I sleep a lot. On the weekends, I have more time and energy. I look forward to exercising at my full potential some time in the near future.