Reflecting over the past year
It’s that time of year again – Breast Cancer Awareness month. Ironically, it was a year ago this Friday that I woke up early, with anticipation of my mastectomy that day. I decided to start my morning with a quiet walk in my neighborhood. To my surprise, I was greeted with a stunning sunrise of pink and yellow and I lost myself in the silent beauty.
We’ve all been touched by breast cancer in some way. It hit home pretty hard for me when my best friend, Lara Waddle, was diagnosed 5 years ago. She’s been my biggest cheerleader after I was diagnosed a year ago. She’s checked on me often, given helpful advice, and just been there for me. I’m in awe at how bravely she’s fought, especially now with metastatic breast cancer. Through it all, she keeps a smile on her face and lives her life so courageously. I could only hope to have the kind of determination and strength she exhibits. She lets her light shine….. and radiates love and joy. She’s my hero. If you’re reading this, please add her name to your prayer list!
Speaking of heroes, I want to tell you about my friend, Robin Cole. Robin and I have been friends for a few years. Remarkably, she was diagnosed with breast cancer only a few months before me. After my diagnosis, we went through surgeries and the reconstruction process together. During this shared journey, we discovered that Transformation Gallery and Tattoo in Springfield, Missouri gives free tattoos to cancer patients. A couple of weeks ago, we went downtown together to have the talented artist, Austin Evans, do his magic and embellish us both with 3D tattoos. Between our plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert Shaw, and our tattoo artist, we look pretty terrific if I do say so myself…. 🙂
My bold and brave friend, Robin, went a step further by having Austin tattoo a cardinal on her shoulder in the memory of her amazing college age son, Cody Uber, who was tragically killed in a vehicle accident a few years ago.
Pretty amazing, huh?
Adjusting to my New Normal
I’m happy to report I’m adjusting nicely since my total gastrectomy six months ago. It looks like I’m maintaining my weight. I’m still working to be disciplined enough to drink plenty of fluids and get enough calories. I recently ordered benecalorie from Amazon. It adds about 300 calories and 7 grams of protein to whatever I add it to (preferably yogurt). It has artificial sweeteners which I’m not excited about, but it’s worth it while I’m trying to figure things out.
One thing I’ve learned this past month- don’t eat breakfast and drink coffee at the same time. Of course I knew better…. did I forget I don’t have a stomach or something?
One more thing…
If you are a woman over 40 and you’re reading this right now… and you’ve been procrastinating getting your annual mammogram, you know what to do. Oh, and don’t forget those self exams every month – those are just as important!!