This week is my five year cancer-versary! It's been a year and a half since I last blogged here, and I feel like I owe some of you an update (especially those who are far away). Yet, I sit here staring at my computer and I don't know what to say.
Five years is a significant mark. Most cancers recur in the first five years after diagnosis, so we tend to rejoice when we hit the five-year mark. Statistically, it's great news. Yet, I've now seen enough women with post-five-year recurrences to know that I'm never out of the woods. Life is unpredictable and fleeting.
Here's a brief update of my life and my victories…
Doctors AppointmentsI see my oncologist every six-months…which will soon change to annual visits. I don't feel the anxiety I used to feel at each appointment. I think the significance of this is that cancer no longer dominates my thoughts. It doesn't define my life the way it used to. I don't live constantly battling fear of recurrence. If it happens, I know that God will give me everything I need to be victorious, in life or in death.
My New NormalI've finally adjusted to my "new normal." I fought hard against the idea of a new normal. I wanted my life back. But I've adapted and accepted my life for what it is. I've learned to be content and make the most of the energy I have. I'm very, very thankful for many of the changes in my life and in my perspective. I wouldn't trade them for all the strength in the world.
TamoxifenI did a little experiment and went off Tamoxifen shortly after my last post about it (almost 2 years ago). I took a six month break, and honestly, it was very difficult. I had intense mood swings that just about destroyed my life. I went back on it, but adjusted my dose and started taking another drug to help with the side effects. I'm handling it much better now, but still live with an extreme energy deficit.
A New StartWe moved! We bought a house about 5 miles from our old one. Our new house is bigger and beautiful. But more than that, it's different. It's a fresh start. It's a place to put the past behind us and create new memories…ones that don't include months of sickness and grief and struggling. My kids don't remember what I was like before cancer. They barely remember me going through treatment. The boys are both in school at a local STEM Academy and Eva starts kindergarten there in the fall.
My life is not at all what I envisioned it would be. But I've found beauty in suffering. I've learned that lasting happiness and satisfaction are found only in God, and not the circumstances of our lives. And there is so much freedom in that, in letting go of all of our plans and aspirations and yielding to the One who holds the world in the palm of His hand. His plans are so much better than ours.