9 months ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then I’ve experienced exhaustion, nausea, hot flashes, emotional highs and lows, severe physical alterations, and food cravings/aversions. I basically had a cancer baby. Don’t worry I won’t make you lie and tell me my baby’s cute ’cause we all know it isn’t.
While I’m officially done directly treating the cancer – woohoo! – I still have to take some steps to reduce the risk of recurrence, as I’ve mentioned before. So today I started my every-3-week Herceptin treatment – the drug I’ve gotten with both my trial and chemo that targets the HER2 mutation. I will also start taking Tamoxifen – a daily pill to keep my hormone levels low since as a reminder, my cancer responds to and feeds off of hormones. Both of these are to minimize the risk of recurrence and will be light on side effects – practically a party compared to the last 9 months. The other major milestone I have to check off my list is my final reconstruction surgery scheduled for May 15. I can’t even tell you how I excited I am for that… well, I can and I will. But I’ll fill you in on that once the date gets closer.
So I’m still sitting here letting it sink in that chemo is over and I’m now a breast cancer survivor. While it’s been a life-changing experience and I’ll forever be a champion of early detection, advocacy, patient care, research, etc., this doesn’t define me. I am not cancer and cancer is not me. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, pit bull cuddler, travel lover, and friend… who happened to kick cancer’s ass. Well, that’s not true. Technically I just showed up for my appointments. The doctors, nurses and staff at Dana Farber are really the cancer ninjas that won this battle for me. They truly are remarkable people who have somehow made having an ugly cancer baby somewhat enjoyable.