Uh, happy anniversary to me? I’m not quite sure I’d say that out loud. However, I am very thankful that I am still here two years later! It’s been a tough row to hoe but the hardest part is behind me.
Two years ago, I went into the hospital having difficulty breathing. The doctors assumed that I had a pericardial effusion (fluid around the sac that the heart sits in) and it would be a rather easy fix. But this is my life and nothing is ever an “easy fix” when it comes to me! It turns out that the fluid was caused by the tumors that were pressing up against my heart and lungs. They biopsied the tumors and the results were just what the doctors expected. Cancer. Lymphoma, specifically.
Getting carted off before surgery, I remember jokingly asking if I could get a milkshake and fries and a cheeseburger before going home. I still can’t believe that all of us were so sure that I was going to be fine. That I didn’t have to fight for my life. That I was 25 and the picture of perfect health.
Chemo started later that week once I had mostly recovered. The full details are here, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Life since then has been filled with its ups and downs. I recovered my strength and energy in about three months post chemo. I still don’t feel like I used to but I doubt I ever will. What I have gained is mental and emotional strength. After cancer, most of life’s problems are a piece of cake. I’m very happy that I actually learned something from this. And that I’m here to learn and grow from this terrible experience.
I’ve learned that I am much stronger than I previously believed.
I’ve learned that people are full of surprises and will come out of the woodwork to show just how much they really care.
I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this fight and in this world.
I’ve learned that my knitting is an integral part of who I am and it will never fail me in keeping me sane.
I’ve learned what happiness is. It’s the ability to take a deep breath with out any pain.
But I’m mostly happy that of the 66, 360 people in the US who will have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I’m one of the 70% who survived. Unfortunately, there are 502,943 “members” of this awful club living in the US.