“What was the most important thing you did this past year?” “SURVIVE!”
I came across this saying a couple of years ago and had posted it on my social media at the end of the year. Truer words have never been spoken when it has come down to 2020. Some days I didn’t think I would make it, some days I felt I wasn’t enough, some days were tougher than others. But somehow, we made it. Another year in the books. 365 more days of life given to us. For that we should ALL feel proud and thankful.
At the beginning of 2020, I found out that I was going to have to start chemo. I was terrified. Since 2016, I had been on hormone therapies that had controlled the cancer and now those therapies were no longer working and we needed to bring in the “big guns”- Chemo. In the stage 4 cancer world, we know that once you are on chemo there is no going back. You don’t ever come off of it. You can change types etc. but you will now be on chemo forever. And chemo is no joke. It is poison. Poison that kills or attempts to kill the cancer but also damages other parts of your body at the same time. It makes you feel horrible some days and fine others and you really never know what you are going to get. I wake up every morning wondering what today will bring in terms of how I will feel.
I remember at the end of 2019, I decided that 2020 would be my year! I booked trips. I made plans. I was going to swim with dolphins in the Bahamas with my kids, visit my friend in Portugal, go on a girls vacation, lots of concerts and many other things. I was going to live life to the fullest. Well as they say “when you make plans, god laughs”. Because we all know how “my year” turned out. No trips, no visits with friends, no concerts. Trust me, I am not going to say 2021 will be my year out loud b/c I know we all need a break and I don’t want to curse it.
So… while it was a hard year. Probably one of the hardest for many, so many good things came out of it as well. We made memories at home. Memories that are sometimes the most important. Simple things; camp outs, hide and seek in the yard, baking together, bike rides. Memories I know my kids will never forget.
There were many days that I thought remote schooling would be the end of me. Days that I would close myself in the laundry room sobbing b/c I felt like such a bad mother b/c it was all too hard and too much to juggle. But when I look back on it and I see how resilient my kids are and how well they have been doing in school, I could not be prouder. Watching them bounce back and more importantly be there for each other has brought me so much peace.
I have never felt sicker than I have this past year and it has not been easy. My cancer progressed twice this year and I am currently on my third treatment of the year. Today though I am feeling pretty good. The medicine I am currently on is tolerable so far and we move forward and wait to see if it continues being tolerable and if the medicine is working. I have lost friends this year to this disease and have watched other friends struggle with their treatments and progression. It is terrifying to watch people you care about go through these terrible moments and know that one day it will be your turn. Through these tough moments I have also felt the power and the love that my Metastatic community provides to me. I have also felt the continued love and support that we receive from our friends, family and community.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and may 2021 bring great things and some normalcy to everyone.