Good morning everyone – it’s Tina.
As you are reading this, I am completing my last radiation treatment.
Join me and let’s go back to the beginning.
A long six months seems so short looking back.
When I started this journey on March 4, I joked about a quick weight loss and not having to shave my legs. Little did I know that I would be blessed with so much more.
I can’t help reflecting on the blessings that occurred as a result of being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I am humbled by the number of cards, care packages, phone calls, flowers, sweets, and prayers. Not a day goes by where family and friends are not supporting and cheering me along the way.
I have met friends and strangers who have battled cancer at so many levels. They have supported me in understanding this journey and have kept me from feeling alone. Their grace and strength are humbling. My journey has been uncomplicated compared to others. I do not say that lightly I say it with gratitude. I count my blessings. Cancer is tough. Cancer Really Sucks and early detection is a MUST.
I learned early that this journey is mine and it is also yours. There is no correct way to experience it or support it. PRAYERS and positive thoughts carried me through!
I also realized that my Cancer path is not unusual or ordinary. It is a roller-coaster filled with incredible highs, elevator shaft downs and spine whipping curves. Just when you think you are at the end of the ride you come to understand that actually you are on the slow ride up not knowing when or if you would descend into a breath-taking emotional drop.
I learned to wait for each test result and to prepare for the unexpected result. I was being proactive as I rode the Cancer roller coaster and I hated all the turns and twists. I wanted to quit and get on a different roller coaster. I’m glad I stayed. Every time I thought about giving up, one of you would show up. You were my strength.
The medical team I surrounded myself with are and continue to be great advocates. Their humor has guided me to laugh at myself and to trust my instinct. You must be your own advocate. And yes, I questioned my doctors many times. I wanted to understand what was coming next on this roller coaster.
Michael and I both do not believe in coincidences. An unexpected meeting at the Smoothie Factory led us to become friends with the owner of Mimi’s Wigs about a year ago. Today, I want to say a special thanks to the team at Mimi’s Wigs. They have gone out of their way to help me find the perfect wig to represents my mood, keep me upbeat, and encouraged me to laugh at myself and with them.
Today I celebrate. I am 100% cancer-free. For the next 10 years I am on medication and monitoring to ensure that nothing changes. Life is short enough we cannot take for granted that each day is a gift.
Over these six-months have learned to appreciate simple things:
Attitude – It is a gift. It is not only my attitude. It is the attitude of everyone around me. I am not on this journey alone. It has been hard on my family, friends, and coworkers. Yet, I have been supported every step of the way.
Sunshine – I had to grab and hold on tight to that bright ray of sunshine to remember how fortunate I have truly been. I miss my “old” normal life. I am craving a morning run along White Rock Lake with friends followed by breakfast. My “new” normal will continue to have challenges, just ones that I choose!
Friends – The greatest gift is being blessed with you. My family and friends. Thank you is an understatement — you all have filled my heart and my soul.
My Request of You
I want you to reduce your cancer risk.
I don’t want you to go through this. While some cancers appear out of the blue, many can be prevented with just a few lifestyle changes – stop smoking, lose extra weight, protect your skin from sun damage, and watch what you eat. Please go see a doctor for regular check-ups, mammogram and demand follow-up whenever pain, bleeding or unusual lumps show up. Many people can live long and fulfilling lives if this disease is discovered in its early stages. I want you to have a long and fulfilling life.
Take nothing for granted.
Enjoy the life you have right now. Take time to wake early and see the sunrise, hug the people in your life, and feel the wind on your face. Marvel at this amazing world God created and thank Him for bringing us together.
Thank you for your love, your generosity of time and words and most importantly being in my life yesterday, today and tomorrow.
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