Last week marked one year since I started my journey with breast cancer.  Though I didn’t know it at the time, that morning would mark the last of my quiet morning routines for some time.  Gene and I got up and enjoyed our usual morning walk with Dolly on a crisp September morning.  I remember turning to Gene at one point and saying, “I love this time of year,” and he grinned and said, “I know you do.”  Later that morning, I found the lump in my breast as I showered, and the next morning, my father died.

I look back now at that person I was, the things I worried about or stressed over, my priorities, and my goals and find that some things are the same, but so many things are different.  I always felt that I was a strong person, but I have found strength that I did not know I had.  I have always hated to ask for help or rely on others, but have found peace in asking for help and leaning on a friend or family member.  I have learned many more things about myself but will save those for another post.

Gene and I took this week to travel to Texas and be with our family.  It was both a joyful weekend as we had a family wedding reception for our son and new daughter, as well as a difficult week as we recognized the one year anniversary of my father’s death.  Mom and I talked about our two respective mornings of finding the lump and then Dad’s death.  We are both haunted by those mornings but learning to find some peace.  I found myself wondering why we put so much importance on the anniversary of someone’s death, but I believe it is part of the healing process.  I do know that I’m glad we went home to be with family.

The one year mark brings another reminder — time for my mammogram!  Can you believe it?  I should be able to finish treatment before I’m due for that test, don’t you think?  It is kind of like a new car in my mind.  You should have it paid off before you have to replace the tires!  (My husband always laughs when I make this comment.)

As you can imagine, I am facing this mammogram in my usual style — with humor.  When I called to make my appointment, I asked the scheduler to put a note in my chart that I want them to get it right this year.  No surprises!  I want a nice, normal mammogram.  You have to love small town hospitals.  I actually have the email address of the girls in the X-ray department.  So I emailed them and asked if I get a discount on my mammogram since I only have one breast.  Seriously, I did email them.  Their response?  “We hope your mammogram is uneventful this year!  And you do get a discount!”  I gave myself a high five.  I do love a discount.  I will let you know what other trouble I can find when I’m there next month.

Finally, I want to say that I could not, could not have survived this year without your support.  The food, the phone calls, the hugs, the emails, the cards, the rides to and from chemo, the company at chemo, the prayers, all the pink gifts and yes, even the knitting and painting lessons showed me that you cared and were sharing my journey.  God blessed me with the angels that I needed to help hold me up this past year.  I will hold each of you in my heart and prayers forever.

family photo

Isn’t it funny that we all showed up wearing red? My brother, my Mom, and my Sister and me.