When the fog rolls in, it starts slowly but the next thing you know, it surrounds you. It doesn't matter which direction you turn, how far or how fast you run -there it remains. It builds and builds and sets in to the point where you cannot even see what lies directly in front of you - the green of the grass, the orange in the fall leaves, the blue of the sky. Just the thick, dark fog weighing you down like a heavy cloak that you can't lift off your shoulders.
When the fog rolls in, fear and worry accompany it. It penetrates your heart and soul and despite your best efforts, the fog engulfs your mind and spirit. It is so dense that you can be in a crowd of hundreds and yet feel completely isolated and alone. It can make you feel like it's the beginning of the end. That all the happiness and joy you have known is now lost to you forever.
The fog can overtake you and mask all of your hope and all of your dreams. You may be able to talk and even smile in the midst of the fog - but it's tainted. It's poisoned by the doubt and darkness that the fog carries with it.
And then one day, there is a ray of sunshine that is so bright, it's able to penetrate through the fog. It illuminates your dark world and slowly but surely it burns the fog away. The heaviness lifts from your shoulders, nature becomes lush and colorful, and you can once again hear and feel the love and laughter that surrounds you. It is in these moments that I am most grateful. Grateful that all that is good and wonderful in my life is once again shining bright before me. Grateful that the burden of the fog is no longer consuming me. Grateful to be reminded that every day is a blessing - no matter what that day may bring - good or bad.
But behind the smile, the gratitude, the joy -lies remnants of the fog. It is much less dense, and not even noticeable to the naked eye as the sun shines straight through it. But it does linger, always lurking in the background - no longer invading the mind and soul - but it is there and in a moment of weakness, it can quickly rise again, taking over everything it touches. It is a daily struggle to keep the fog at bay, and let the bright sunlight shine through...but it is worth it - every bit of struggle is worth it.
I am grateful that my fog has lifted over the past week. Boy, is this journey a tough one. It is not the recovery from surgery that is the most difficult, or the chemo, or the hair loss, or even the prospect of not being able to have children. It is simply the fear of dying.
I would go through all of this again - the testing, the port, the chemo, the hormonal drugs, the surgery, the hair loss - all of it...I would go through it year after year, after year if it meant I would be able to live a long, happy life with Mike. But there are no such promises and as positive and optimistic as I may be, fear and doubt always live in the back of my mind. When I become sad it easily consumes me and thankfully I have amazing people around me that help me through those times. But also know that when I am happy, when you see me smile and laugh - the fear and doubt still live there.
I wanted to share this with you because I have heard and seen so much suffering lately. Not just my own - but that of many others. I have been hearing so many heartbreaking stories of children battling cancer, young mothers losing their cancer battles, and long time metastatic breast cancer survivors entering hospice. Please be there for those that you know who are fighting disease and illness - even if they seem to be doing well - because you never know who is silently struggling and your caring words may be that ray of sunshine that is able to break through their fog.
Thankfully, I was able to get my last drain out last Wednesday and I have been feeling so much better since then. I am so thankful for the little things, like being able to take a shower without any help or the ability to roll over in bed without increased discomfort. I have started exercising again for the first time since March and I am hopeful I will regain my energy, strength and arm range of motion back soon. It is a slow process after being on near bed rest for about a month, and my body continues to send me very clear signals when I do too much. But, I am so happy to be able to get out of the house and spend more time with family and friends. The rest of this week is a busy one, filled with doctor's appointments, plans with friends, and even a speaking engagement at Mike's school to help educate the students on self exams, trusting your instincts, and being your own best advocate.
Thank you so much for your continued love and support. I am so blessed to have you all in my life to help me through this.
ps. I didn't want to freak anyone out and share my post-surgical pics on the blog. But, if you would like to educate yourself on what we have to go through physically while enduring this disease, please check out The Scar Project. It is a very raw and real series of portraits of young women survivors by acclaimed photographer, David Jay. It is extremely eye-opening and a beautiful depiction of strength, courage and hope.
It felt so good to finally pick my camera back up and take some pictures. What better subject than our sweet Goddaughter, Alice. How adorable is she?!
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