Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Important Milestone And The S Word

I don't usually say much on my blog about illness, family drama or making a living .  We all have plenty of "real life" in our lives.  For that reason I try to blog about the things I do because I want to, not the things I do because I have to.  I feel very blessed that, because of blogging, I have been able to connect with a "tribe" of like-minded women who "get" me and what I like to do.  I debated about whether or not to write this post about life in the grown-up world but I am approaching a joyful milestone and who better to share it with than the tribe I share so much of my joy with!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2007 (invasive ductile carcinoma cat.5, lumpectomy, 2 tumors 4-5mm ea, estrogen receptor +, node -, Oncotype DX 22, rads x33, letrozole 2.5mgx5 yrs. for those of you who have been there) and this coming August 31 is my 5-year anniversary so I can finally say that I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR!  I have been holding my breath for so long I am not even sure I know how to exhale but that magical "S" word is a good place to start.

You might be surprised to learn that I see BC as a blessing, in some ways.  I certainly would never wish it on anyone.  Not ever.  But it taught me some things about life, or maybe just forced me to stop and pay attention.  Nothing makes you appreciate what you have like the prospect of losing it.  You don't know just how strong you really are until you have no other course besides straight into battle.  You recognize that TIME is the most precious thing you have.  That one is double-edged because it is also easy to feel resentful when you perceive it being stolen away by things you no longer see as important. 

No, I don't run.  I don't even walk.  But I give.  And I give my ear and my encouragement whenever it is needed.  One in eight, you know.  Get your mammograms and get your exams!  I am here if you ever need me.

I have waxed on long enough.  The collage above is one of four I made during the four weeks between the lump being discovered and the surgery and getting my diagnosis and treatment plan in place. Those were the most difficult weeks of the entire time and the collages were a place for me to focus my energy.  When I finished the 33 radiation treatments I was actually sad about not seeing my rad techs every morning on the way to the office so I photocopied the collage above and made it into a thank you card for them and took them a box of white and pink champagne truffle "ta-tas". 

The collages have hung next to the door in my art room for the past 5 years.  It is time for them to come down and be packed away.  Time for that time to be packed away.  A fresh, bare wall ready for something new.


Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

I saw your first picture as a beautiful creation without knowing what it represented for you. I'm exhaling now and so happy to hear your good news about making your five year mark. Thank you so much for sharing this and I promise I will make my overdue mammogram appointment next week. HUGS!

Jewels said...

Kathy - congratulations! I agree with your philosophy about your blog - but I think taking time to acknowledge personal victories is important too - especially when there is that link with your art and how it all comes together. Good for you. I too have health issues but I try to take the And then just move on. Well done. J

Andy's Attic said...

I am so happy to say congratualtions to a SURVIVOR! Your blog is a great place to share this news as it may give someone you don't even know a hope they didn't have. I'm glad you are here, glad to have found your blog, and happy to have met you!!

Barbara said...

I couldn't figure out what the S word was going to be, and I was happy to learn what it was. Savor each day - there's an s-word too. Happy for your milestone!

Annette said...

WooHoo!!! Exhale and celebrate!
I'm very happy for you and I can't wait to see what takes the place of that poignant collage!

oldgreymare said...

My dear, you said it beautifully. <3

A milestone indeed! Like all milestones, it can also be just a place marker of where you've been, and a
measure of how far you've come, and a glance in the rear view mirror to remind us of the many miles ahead.
much love

laurie -magpie ethel said...

SURVIVOR is a wonderful word to say about oneself...glad that milestone is quickly approaching.

ps. I have a mammogram scheduled in two should be part of life.


vintage grey said...

Yay! Congratulations!! What a true blessing Kathy and a time to celebrate!! So awesome! xo Heather

Blessed Serendipity said...

Kathy I am so happy for you to be able to say you are a survivor and you give strength to others who are struggling with this now. Your collage is beautiful as you are inside and out.


Into Vintage said...

Wow! And congrats on your wonderful milestone! More grateful than ever to read your blog and learn about you, your art and your life. Thank you for sharing this with us, your tribe. xo

Maggie said...

now that's a wonderful milestone to celebrate!

"Survivor"...what a great badge of honor to wear. Cheers and continued good health to you!!

Laurie said...

Oh there is nothing like that 5 year mark! SO HAPPY for you!