Thanks for sharing, Mary Ann. I am always inspired when I hear from long-time survivors ... 18 years ... Love it!
I will be a 18 year survivor in Dec. 2009. Doesn't seem that long and I can remember it like it was yesterday. Everything went so fast but I wanted it out for sure. My family was there for me but I had boys (23 & 18) so it was different on them as well on me. My husband was a real sweetheart, taking care of me. I knew he was having trouble with this when I got home, he wasn't sure if he could look at my scare, but then he did and he was the best husband I could have as support. It wasn't always easy but I had what I call Mild Chemo or CMF, never forgot those letter !
I was a school bus driver so I got my chemo on Friday and went back to work on Monday. Everything was great until I passed up one of my stops, then I realized I couldn't think of anything but my route and not what was I going to have for dinner ! It was scary but I found a wonderful support group and that helped me understand so much. I learned everything from Chemo Brain, problems with vision at night ( which comes back after chemo), how to get though the day with emotions you haven't had before, to wondering when this was all going to end. It never ends as you see your oncologist every year and we all get nervous.
One thing about Cancer is life gets better in ways you never imagine. I have met so many special people that I have been so blessed. The survivors are the best but I got lucky 1998 at the Detroit Race for the Cure, Olivia Newton-John was there and I standing at the right place at the right time, she grabbed me for a photo for the Ford World newspaper. Well, they liked it so well, that out of 200 pictures, they pick our picture and it was on the front page !!! Then at a Survivor luncheon, we got to have our picture with Linda Carter ~~~ Wonder Woman !! When we moved to Florida in 2003, I went to the first Race for the Cure which is in first one of the year in West Palm Beach. It was so exciting, I got to meet Nancy Brinkler the founder.
THEN I got to be in a book that was published by Barbara Delinsky, she sent e-mails asking for input from Survivors. It is called "UPLIFT" and easy to read and all kinds of simple and helpful hints on how to deal with your cancer from start to finish. She published 3 versions and I am in it 4 times.
This is from the book, in the part on how men felt --- "My husband's first reaction was shock. He felt lost, not knowing what to say or do. Then he sat down with me and told me that it didn't matter if I had one or two breasts, because that's not what he married me for. He told me we would get through this together. He took me to chemo treatments and made dinner when I couldn't --- and he's a good cook ! When I came home from the hospital, he didn't want to see my scar. This scared me a little. Then, the day he did look at it, because he realized what it meant to me for him to see it. Then there was the day he touched it and found it to be just fine.
Cancer is tough stuff, but LOVE is stronger." I was diagnosed at age 44 and I am now age 61 almost 62. I thought I would never see the day that I would be on Social Security but its coming !!!! Cancer may take away but it gives you more opportunities then you can ever imagine ! Hang in there my Survivor Sisters !!