Ten years ago, I visited an Oncologist for the first time.  My friend Becky and I listened as my new doctor outlined two years of surgery, chemo, radiation and reconstruction.  I remember looking over Dr. Nabi’s  shoulder and out the window as she spoke thinking, “There must be some mistake.  I don’t feel sick.  Could she have the wrong patient chart?”  When Dr. Nabi was called out of the room, my friend Becky looked at me and said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  This is going to take a lot of energy.”  Nope, that wasn’t what I was thinking.  I was thinking, “I don’t have time for this!”  Because obviously, whatever was on my schedule was more important that being treated for cancer, LOL.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  With all the pink everything out there, it is sort of difficult to miss.  It is a month I both celebrate and dread.  I dread the memory of finding a lump in my breast and how frightened I was.  I dread remembering my father’s sudden death and wondering if I would be joining him soon.  I have so often commented that if I had had a window into the future and known that I would survive, surviving would have been so much easier.  But cancer doesn’t work that way.

On the other hand, I’m pretty good at celebrating.  I celebrate living, my friends, my family. I celebrate waking up and every birthday/holiday/anniversary as I roll towards Gene and say, “Made it!”  We laugh every time.  I’ve done a good job of purging things that don’t bring me joy or laughter.  I try to remain positive and share that positive outlook with others.  I give compliments to total strangers and today, Gene and I gave a stranded farmer a ride home and had a great conversation with him.  Ask me anything about farming and hay in Minnesota!  I got the scoop. 

We’re heading to Texas soon to celebrate with family and hopefully blow a few things up.  Because nothing says you are a survivor like blowing up pumpkins!  We blew up pumpkins after every round of chemo and have kept up the tradition for the past ten years.  It makes me laugh every time.

I will end this ten year retrospective with urging you (both men and women) to do breast self exams.  They work.  They save lives.  And YOU are important to me.