Today is my two-year cancerversary – The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Happy to report that I am still indeed in remission 🙂
My annual mammogram is next week and, well, it’s a deeply emotional experience full of PTSD and uncertainty. When you’re a cancer “survivor,” you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Back ache? Must be cancer. Bruising easily? Must be cancer. Breast pain? Has to be cancer. More hair falling out than usual… you get the idea.
When I went for my first mammogram, I had gone back into the screening room at least five times to get more scans before eventually being moved to the ultrasound room. My appointment started at 8am and by 4pm and a thousand scans/tests/ultrasounds later, “Bobbi, you have breast cancer.” Talk about a before and after moment! As I’m writing this, it’s almost two years to the minute that I was diagnosed. Dammit, I’m crying. It’s all just a lot.
A few days ago Claire and I were discussing my upcoming appointment and what life was like back then. When we were talking about how it had affected us the most she said something along the lines of, “I mean, yeah your personality had changed, you were easily agitated, and just not as fun. But you were going through a lot, we all knew. It was a scary time for you and you were allowed to be angry.”
I teared up, “Claire, you are so wise and I love you so much.” Our whole family grew in ways we didn’t know possible. Cancer changed all of us for the better, and for that I’m thankful. Howeverrrrr, DO NOT RECOMMEND!
For the record, I’m still taking Tamoxifen to suppress my female hormones and am required to for at least three more years. The side effects are whoa. If you know, you know
To my family and friends, thank you for standing by my side through the ugly – I know it wasn’t easy (I’m a person who feels my emotions in a big way).
I love you all more than ever.
Also, here’s your reminder to “feel it on the first” of every month. I’m Lumpy Boob Bobbi and thought I would never be able to find a lump because, well, it all feels like lumps! I’m here to tell you, my tumor did NOT feel like the rest of my breast; it was a very distinct difference.
And for my 40 and older friends, if you’re not getting an annual mammogram – do not pass go, do not collect $200, make an appointment right now. Please? I’m begging you on behalf of the people that love you.
Lastly, for all of the horror stories you’ve heard about how painful a mammogram is, they’re a bunch of wimps!* It’s easy and breezy.
PS. Thank you Stephen for making today so special. I love you so damn much!
*they’re not actually wimps, maybe I have a higher pain tolerance.
I have followed your work for years. Your technical skill shows, but damn, it is your creativity with settings and poses I love the most. I am a better photographer due to your example.
I am thrilled to hear you are free and continuing to do what you are so good at. You inspire a lot of us.