Thursday, October 21, 2010

One year later

.......I said good bye to the "girls" a year ago today.  I don't regret our decision but there are days where it creeps in and I wonder what if?  Then I hear stories of people who underwent chemo and radiation..... I avoided that.  I hear stories of women who have had it metastasize years after being cancer free.  I know women who have fought a long hard battle and won.  I know women who fought a long hard battle and are losing........I didn't have to fight that hard.
Over the past year I have struggled.  Surgery was in October and all was done reconstruction wise by January.  In February I suffered a huge blow and was spiraled into depression and rage.  My kids were scared of me, my husband was mad at me and couldn't fix me.  I couldn't fix me.  I gave up on God (short of renouncing him) I spent many months shaking my fist at Him, cursing Him and kicking at His shins.  It took some marital counseling, a compassionate and devoted husband, a loving and forgiving Savior, and a group of friends not willing to let me drown, plus some exercise goals to crawl to the top of the pit.  It was a DARK time in my life.  I believe a majority of it was PTSD.  At times I feel back on that edge but the Lord has been gracious to help me recognize it so that I can amp up the running.  Running has been therapy.  Doing that tri was therapy.  Doing both those activities reminds me that I am alive.  It reminds me that I was given the chance to AVOID all that is usually associated with breast cancer.  It also leaves me in a bit of a quandry.  Some call me a breast cancer survivor.  I call myself an avoider.  I'm ok with that.  I still get shook up at the weirdest things however.  My trip to Seattle in June found me smack in the middle of the Race for Cure while trying to get to Starbucks with friends.  I panicked.  My pulse quickened, my breathing got shallow and my eyes locked on all the pink running by.  My friends, God love them, saw the panic in me and rushed me across the street and into the nearest pink free zone they could find.  They just did what needed to be done and did it.  Just the other day I was in a neighboring town buying running shoes.  The store didn't open for another 30 minutes so I was walking around the city square.  Pink ribbons flags were hanging everywhere.  Pink support shirts were being sold in the shops.  I hate pink and I just got angry seeing it all.  I'm not over it, nor do I expect to ever be really.  What I do expect is to remember that I am alive and live life.  Taking the time now to invest in friendships, and relationships that I have neglected this past year because I just couldn't do life while depressed.
Physically  I am recovered.  I have about 50% of my sensation back.  Final sensation levels will be solidified over the next six months.  After that what I have is what I have.  Scars are fading.  My drain hole scars are the most faded looking like chicken pox scars now.  The incision scars are not as red but still a very in your face reminder of what I went through a year ago.  I can use my pec muscles without pain.  I can hike mountains, I can swim bike and run triathalons, I can run 5ks, I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.  It isn't always easy to let go and let God with all the mental stuff but I am learning......

7 comments:

Sarah said...

((((((((Traci))))))))) Thanks for sharing your heart.

Peg said...

You are amazing honey. Amazing. Praying you are able to let God continue to strengthen you as you go forward.

ICL,
Peg

Bob and Cheri said...

Traci,

It sounds so silly to say, "I am proud of you!", but that is what my heart feels. You've fought a hard fight, and you've won. Not the cancer, but the battle of the heart and mind. I am so sorry that you've had to endure such pain, but I love hearing your heart. Praying for strength, endurance and peace as you continue to trust God.

Hugs,
Cheri

Lauren said...

It's not easy at all to let go and let God handle your fears, worries, sadness... but it sounds like you are well on your road to recovery. It also sounds like you are doing all of the right things to get back to yourself again. We all have our dark times, but they make us stronger in the end.

Yay for running therapy! It works, doesn't it? It apparently also helps with getting pregnant, so be careful with the running if you want to avoid having a 6th baby! :) haha... kidding!

Love you Sis!

NotaSupermom said...

It's totally normal to have a depression three to six months after major surgery.
I don't know if it's because of the meds or from skating so close to the edge of mortality, but it happens to almost everyone I've talked to about it.
Glad to hear you have bounced back!

Susan in the Boonies said...

Thanks for your candor and vulnerability, Traci.

I don't really read blogs to read product reviews, but I love YOU, and so when I saw you had a blog post today, I scanned back a bit to look for a place where you were sharing a bit of YOU, and I found it.

Sending you some love, and hoping that since this post was written, that your heart has experienced even deeper levels of healing. :hug:

Traci said...

Susan,
Thank you. I need to write more. Maybe if I scheduled my posts like I have for my reviews I will get more up. Look for Turkeys later today......I'm working on the photos later this afternoon.