This week I hit a couple of milestones. First of all…I turned 30! That’s right, now I get to check a different box for demographic information. The day went by without much fanfare – I went to work as I normally do.
By: Robin Harry
This week I hit a couple of milestones. First of all…I turned 30! That’s right, now I get to check a different box for demographic information. The day went by without much fanfare – I went to work as I normally do. Most people don’t like working on their birthday, but when you work with the folks that I work with, birthdays at work are actually kinda fun! I hadn’t made any plans to celebrate the day; there’s a lot I’m still trying to figure out about life now and I wasn’t sure how a birthday bash would work, really. But thank God for friends that care enough to insist that I don’t spend my 30th birthday doing my laundry…I went out to dinner with one friend, and really, really enjoyed it.
My second milestone was today; my first cancerversary! A year ago, 29 June 2011, both a phone call from my thoracic surgeon and a meeting with my haematologist confirmed that I had lymphoma. I still remember that day quite well, even with all the chemofog. I remember sitting at my desk at work, talking on the phone to Dr. Simone, my thoracic surgeon, while he calmly told me that my biopsy came back positive for Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, the primary mediastinal subtype. I remember writing it all down on a yellow sticky note. I remember emailing my haematologist (we work at the same hospital, it’s allowed) to ask about it, and him seeing me that afternoon. That appointment is a little more blurry – there was a lot of information and not much time. But he was also quite calm, very encouraging, and very confident about everything he said. I remember thinking 6 chemo sessions isn’t all that much (was I ever wrong!). I remember getting a prescription for prednisone and allopurinol, wondering how on earth I was going to drink all the water I needed to. I remember wondering how on earth I was going to tell my family. I remember being impatient about the appointment ending so that I could go to a meeting about my choir. “Yeah, I have cancer, I get it…I’m gonna be late for this meeting!!” (sigh) What a difference a day makes.
That evening I told the friends I met with that I had cancer, though they probably suspected that was the case given that I was telling them during a terrible coughing fit. Then I went home to tell my family in my usual flippant “it’s not a big deal” style, hoping to spare them from being too worried or scared. I’m still not sure how well that worked.
Out of all the days over the past year of this journey, I think that’s the day that I remember the clearest. It all plays back like a little movie in my head. On one hand, it was the longest year of my life. So many things changed so fast but there was always so much to do, so many things to deal with, sickness, pain, isolation, appointments, needle pokes. On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s only been a year…also because so much has changed. It takes most people several years to have the kind of evolution that I’ve had because of having cancer. How can so much have changed in so little time? It amazes me!
I’ve posted a few pictures that show my physical metamorphosis over the past year, so feel free to visit my blog’s other home page to see them!
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