Monday, January 30, 2012

By Katy Meek

April 9, 2007: I awoke startled in a hospital could I not remember how I got here? As I become more coherent my mind wanders back to my last memory of being wheeled away from my life into an operating room that would change me forever.

A friend had arranged for all of us waiting for my surgery to wear red lipstick. This idea came from a movie, "Why I Wore Red Lipstick to My Mastectomy". This made me have a sense of control.  I found the lipstick comforting as I was briskly wheeled down a sterile hallway. I am freezing cold and frightened, this is so surreal. I drift off.

Struggling to stay awake, as the morphine ebbs its way through my veins, I thought of the bilateral mastectomy that I had survived.  Breast Cancer diagnosis: Check   Surgery: Check

I feel myself starting to panic; did they get all the cancer? Am I going to live? The morphine quickly takes me to a place where there is not cancer, there is no pain or fear. There is only peace, I sleep, I dream....

February 22, 2002:  I went to a club with a friend, I could be so shy but we sat at the bar as no other seating was available. I sat next to a nice looking man, older than myself, but very handsome and single! He kept talking to my friend and I. His wife has passed away a few years ago of cancer. He had awesome blue eyes that twinkled and he made me laugh. This man asked me out and we have been dating since our first date a few weeks later. He became my "special man friend". We danced to a Beatle’s song; little did I know this was my first dance with my guardian angel.

February 22, 2007: We have had a wonderful, exciting five years together dating.....then I felt that dreaded lump in my breast. It became my secret as I feared the lump was cancer. I could feel it in my soul that it would not be good news; so I decided to ignore it and just maybe it would go away. A few weeks later I finally found the courage to make a doctor appointment.

March 12, 2007: At North Hills Hospital I hear the words coming from a stranger's lips, "Ms. Meek I am sorry to inform you that you have breast cancer". I want to fall to the ground, I feel so alone....."You need to see a surgeon immediately". I hear, "I am so sorry; would you like me to call someone for you?" I am about to be sick, I need to leave this small room that smelled of film developer. Somehow, I thanked the radiologist and stumbled to the hallway. I wait to get to my car to cry, the salty teardrops stinging my face. I am sobbing and shaking. I am in shock. I am a single mom. How am I going to do this?

I call my special man friend. Barely able to breath, I struggle to get the words out. "Vic, I have breast cancer". I am crying so hard...... and praying, "Dear God, please help me have the courage and strength to get through this one. He is at a loss of what to say. I felt like I was dropping a bomb.

I worry that Vic will not be able to go on this journey with me as his memory of his wife's cancer is etched in his mind. Her pain, her suffering can still make him shudder with each beat of his heart.  I am frightened and I need his strong hands to lift me over the hurdles I am about to face but I was not sure a person can go on a second journey. I wanted to be selfish...but would certainly let him go without guilt or remorse. 

When Vic said, "We can get through this together" I felt such a sense of relief and comfort that this man would take this cancer journey with me. I thanked God and prayed for strength and courage...I never asked why I would get cancer; I just  prayed for strength, courage and the capability to just put one foot in front of the other. During a prayer I felt God's presence and knew I was ready to face my fears. I felt such a warmth come across my shoulders, a peace come over me and weight was lifted off my shoulders. I stopped crying myself to sleep every night.

One of the most difficult things I had to do next was tell my daughter and son that I had cancer. I would be having major surgery to remove the cancer by having both breasts removed. It affects a daughter's future and a young son does not want to hear about his mom's breasts but he has to. We hugged, we cried. My daughter is afraid for my future; I am afraid for hers.

To be continued

I have my first member, I am so excited. Since I've experienced cancer I enjoy life so much more. Today I had lunch with my daughter. She made lunch and it was delicious.
I started this blog for survivors and others that have been touched by cancer. I thought it would be a good place to celebrate, share milestones and stories, ask questions or advice and even complain. We are so thankful but there have been a few physical and emotional changes to ourselves and our lives.
Yay, I only have to fill my Femara prescription 10 more times and I will be finished with that joyful little drug.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In 46 days now I will be celebrating my 5 years of being a survivor. It has been difficult getting here. I had surgery in December and a problem with scar tissue from the mastectomy. All is better now and I am ready to just keep looking forward. When you are saying your prayers please remember the women (and some men) that are battling cancer now.

Friday, January 27, 2012 47 days I will be a 5 year breast cancer survivor. I am so excited to be alive to celebrate and thank God each and every day. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer 3/12/2007, a friend send me a quote that I  have tried to live by.

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain" author unknown

Cancer has made me re-evaluate what is truly important in life. It make you look at people and situations from the inside out instead of the outside in. And really, if you have not danced in the rain you need to. Life does not need to be taken so seriously.