Young, a new mother and metastatic
PUBLISHED MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013
Ever heard anyone say it was a great time in their life to get cancer? No! You'll usually hear people talk about their diagnosis in reference to some other major life event. Either "My daughter was getting married," or "I had just started a new job when I found my lump."
The first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a few months after I married the love of my life. We married on Valentine's Day, 2009, and honeymooned in March. I turned 29 in April, and I was diagnosed in May. After a bilateral mastectomy and 18 weeks of chemotherapy, the year was coming to a close. After a particularly rough day, I looked at my husband and joked, "Well, 2009 kind of sucked. 2010 has GOT to be better!"
Chris responded very matter-of-factly, "I for one refuse to think of 2009 as bad - it's the year we got married." He was right then, and now he is even more right.
How many years can be defined as cancer years? 2012 can't be known as the year of my recurrence. It's the year we adopted Henry.
I refuse to let cancer define my life or the way I think about it.
When you have metastatic disease, you have to shift your way of thinking. I will always be in some form of treatment. We are not marching toward the light at the end of the tunnel like I did with the first go 'round. This is not a temporary situation or something I am going through. It's not the path I would have picked, but it is the hand that I have been dealt. And so, THIS IS MY LIFE. I can't think of it in terms of weeks between scans or times in or out of the chemo chair.
Right now, I'm not sure if I am responding or progressing on my new medication (anastrazole) since my last scan had mixed results. But I have a little guy who is learning how to walk, and we just bought and moved into a new house. Cancer is just going to have to take a backseat. I'm too busy to stress about it today. I need to buy a new shower curtain and pick out paint colors for Henry's room ... I'll worry about cancer in a few weeks when I check into the PET scan waiting room.
Carrie Corey is a wife, mom and metastatic breast cancer survivor. She will be reporting in frequently on her journey.