One Year Cancer-Free!
It's been one year since we confirmed that I had a complete pathological response to chemotherapy.
Fortunately, cancer treatment has been like childbirth to me. I remember it was terrible, but I've forgotten how terrible it actually was. I remember being weak and tired. I remember being supported and loved.
I remember my mom telling me "I'm just glad you're still here, Pud” and thinking she was being over-the-top, but I get it.
And, fortunately, here I am, still here.
It's hard to believe it's been a year - I'm back at work, immersed in activities, trying to keep up with my kids. And while the details of cancer treatment have faded, I don't remember much of what life was like before cancer.
What was it like not to worry about aches and pains?
Not to have a consistent tingling feeling in my left arm?
To have my sad, saggy postpartum boobs?
To wear a ponytail when I worked out?
This month has consisted of days of celebration, but also hours of remembering. Thinking of the doctor appointments, the nurses, the feelings of uncertainty.
At the beginning of the month, I learned that I lost one of my chemo friends to his cancer. Seems like the survivor guilt will continue to bubble up at unexpected times.
But I think it's important that August be a month of celebration as I continue to move forward with life. We got through it. We’ve made it to where we are today.
Friday, my office surprised me with a statewide celebration. We have seven offices throughout North Carolina, and at 3pm, as the Raleigh office was surprising me with a room full of attorneys and food, every office was breaking into their own box of Southern Sugar treats (my favorite!). It was incredible to celebrate with so many people.
Saturday, we continued with the anniversary as women gathered in my backyard for a private yoga class with my sister, Sarah Baker. Yoga has been key to my continued physical and mental health, so I wanted to give it as a gift to the many women who have supported me over the past year.
Everyone agreed: THIS is something to celebrate.
But here’s the thing - celebrating a milestone isn’t unique to me. YOU should be celebrating, too.
You’ve overcome obstacles that you’ve minimized for whatever reason. You’re comparing your situation to someone you believe has it worse than you. You think it might be “silly” to celebrate what you’ve gone through.
You did it. You’re on the other side. Whatever you got through - recognize it, honor it, and then continue to move forward.
For those of you still wading in life’s challenges, whether it's cancer or a broken relationship or a tough situation with your career, I want you to hear:
YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT.
There will be fresh starts.
There is hope.
It looks different for each of us, but it's there.
Sometimes we’re the community offering support and sometimes we’re the one that needs to be supported. Embrace it.
I’m excited to announce that I’m working on a project that highlights the many stories of old friends and new friends who have proven to be Greater Than life’s challenges.
This week, you’ll meet some of them on the blog.
In the next few weeks, you’ll get to meet some of them on my new podcast.
Stay tuned…we have a lot to celebrate!