The difference a Year makes

366.

That’s how many days its been since they removed the Cancer. 366 days of learning, days of healing, days of falling back into mistakes I used to make and days that I try to catch myself and strive to be better. 366 days of survival. At the very start of these 366 days, I began with a 7″ incision on my left shoulder, and a tiny little poke under my left arm to get my sentinel lymph node. 366 days later, I have a larger scar under my arm where they removed more lymph nodes, and my feeling is slowly, but surely coming back in my left upper arm.

366 days that have changed my life forever. As my 1 year anniversaries begin to surface, I think back to where I was a year and a day before… had I known what was to come. The surgeries, though they’re crippling on the body, in my mind I was still me, still determined. With treatment, I’ve become someone I can’t recognize. My thoughts are no longer mine and my brain’s turned to mush, attempting to decipher between dreams and reality. I find myself reteaching the simple things in life, like how to hold a conversation and taking notes in my head as I observe my close friends talking. Relearning. Step by step. Healthy to Whole. And I wonder, in 52 days, when treatment ends, will I still be re-teaching, or will I remember what I knew 366 days ago?

A year ago this week I watched the fireworks light the sky with my best friend. As we sat there, we daydreamed of what was to come in the year ahead, and where we would be when we watched the fireworks again. Looking back, I don’t think anyone could have anticipated what was to come in the year ahead. My results, my mom’s diagnosis, my career change, my love life – all of it – unpredictable. This year, I watched the fireworks with the same friend. But this time, without expectations of the future, this year was just filled with excitement of what is to come. Knowing that whatever comes next is better than what I’m leaving behind. Next year, when I put my toes in the sand once more, life will be different. This storm will have passed.

The difference a year makes!

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