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Reflections after a year...

Gina D.

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It's been a year since my DX. In the beginning of that year, I was blurred and dazed, I endured losing one of my closest friends ("Old Golds") losing part of a lung, and losing a long term relationship over the whole "C" thing as well. All within just a few short days of each other.

Life flipped overnite, you have all been through it, I don't need to explain the whirlwind to you.

Now, a year later, with a clean bill of health and full recovery .. I work too much, I don't stay in contact with folks like I should (And that includes here too, tho I lurk) and I eat FAR too poorly for my own good, just like I used to. Basically, I am slipping back into my old bad and good habits (Not the smoking tho!) and life pretty much seems almost as normal as it was 366 days ago.

I am always aware, and never forgetful, I know that this could very well be the calm before the storm .. but I try my best not to dwell on that, tho it's always hardest before "Test Time", thats normal. The C word is no longer the first thought in my mind when I wake up, nor is it the last before I go to sleep. I don't hesitate in making future plans, at least not in the short term like I did a year ago. I no longer say "I need to wait and see what is happening".

I was far too young with my first cancer to realise how serious it really was so I can't really reference back to that. I was invincible, despite the words I heard and the processes I went through. It was no big deal to me.

Am I being a little too casual about the whole thing? Any other early stagers get this complacant?

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Gina, Aint it grand!!!!!!!!!!! It will be one year from diagnosis for me at the end of March. I am still recovering from the side effects of my PCI so life has not really gotten back to precancer state for me just yet. I am starting to feel much better and really do want to get back into my old-ususal routine. Sounds to me like you are back doing the things you love and other than not keeping in touch with folks, which most of us are guilty of, and eating poorly , which most of us can probably say the same, It sounds as if you are doing great. I would not call it being complacant-------I would call it wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations, heres to many more years!!

David C

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Hi Gina, I think that it's great to get back to life after what you went through. I'm still not totally back to where I was before my diagnosis, don't think I'll every be, but it's great to be as close to pre-diagnosis as possible. I say enjoy every day and celebrate being a survivor. Love to you. Nancy O.

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Happy First Anniversary, Gina. I think that all women live at least part of our lives projected into the future. I think we do it because it's a way of dealing with some aspects of the world we inhabit right now. You men may do this is well, but I haven't heard you talk about it before. I've heard plenty of women bring up the subject, long before I was dxd with cancer.

I hope that you have many, many, many years ahead in which to celebrate anniversaries of all kinds.

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I am also approaching a year since diagnosis--my suspicious chest x-ray was May 14, and I had surgery June 20. I have also recently had the full spectrum of tests (every three months for the next year or so) and am done with doctor's appointments till May. All tests normal, thank God.

My treatment ended in November because I elected to do chemo after surgery. I was so anxious to get back to normal life and thoroughly enjoyed the holiday season this past year. I am also looking forward to spring and summer here in the midwest, most of which I was either worrying, recovering from surgery, or having chemo to enjoy last year.

Like you, I lost my buddies (Marlboro Lights in my case) and a lobe of my lung in short order. Add to that extra weight, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication, and the terror of a second cancer diagnosis in two years, and I was a mess.

But, on to better things--I am off the anti-anxiety medication, almost off the anti-depressant medication, and am working on the weight thing. I also no longer have that nagging cough, am taking lots of supplements (makes me at least feel pro-active), and I sure do appreciate my normal life a lot more than I used to. I love my husband, family, and my dogs even more than before if that is possible.

I do still think about cancer a lot and worry about it. I feel like I am walking around with an anvil over my head, but I do make plans about the future, and expect to be around for a long time. I am so nervous at test time, I break out in a rash. Unbelievable.

I also think about how lucky I was to have this found purely by accident during a follow-up with my breast cancer surgeon. I was talking with a friend at a Christmas party and she, a several year stage 3 colon cancer survivor, said, "Doesn't it feel good to be a survivor?" It does, and I guess that says it all.

Trying to enjoy life daily, realizing that it sure is too short to worry about silly things, and hoping for you and all the other fine people who post to this board happiness and health.......

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Congratulations on your year Gina..you were one of the first people to respond to me when I came here... and I appreciated it. I am not quite at the place where you are right now...but I don't think that I am too far behind.

Recently it ocurred to me, I have been waiting for a time to start my life again, for someone to tell me that I was okay, that things would be okay. Problem is, I am okay now...i have been standing here looking forward to some magical place, when meanwhile, I am actually there right now. Who knew??

I am trying to learn how to live again and have at least learned how to sleep through the night, most nights. I keep trying NOT to get complacent because I feel like that is the time this is going to sneak up and grab me. I want to be prepared for it but the truth be told, if I worry every night about it, I still could never be prepared.

I am beginning to make plans for the future again and am taking my life off of hold so to speak, slowly but surely. After my tests in 2 weeks, I will probably be a bit stronger and better prepared at going forward. Right now I'm at the superstitious part...not wanting to jinx myself so I'm kind of in a holding pattern! :roll:

Wishing you lots of luck and glad that you are doing well.....

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David C ~ How many pictures DO you have? :wink:

Life on "hold" is a very good term, I have used it a couple times myself.

I still have not started up my 401k again. I can't bring myself to. I am using that money for NOW, things I WANT to do, like a travel trailer, and weekend jaunts and stuff one would do when they retire. Wierd, huh?

I am so glad you all are NED and doing well. I have lurked, and seen those that did not do well, and it saddens me. I will do better about piping in.

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Hey Gina. Where you been? I can't picture YOU as a lurker.

Happy anniversary kiddo! Your "clean bill of health" allows for a more relaxed lifestlye once more -- you're no longer in the trench on the front lines -- you deserve to wake up and go to sleep less stressed. I don't think it's being complacent. If you were to constantly worry about recurrence, you'll go nuts. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. But don't forget to listen to your body, and go for those regular check ups. Take care Gina.

David P.

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Hey Gina, David and ALL,

I too am approaching my one year dx date. March 10th, 2003. I did not have surgery, last chemo was Oct 27th, 2003. I go back to doc end of March with tests, CT and blood work being done mid March. Prayers please for continued stability. CEA was .6 in January 2004. Please keep on keepen - on. You are all in my prayers...

I am so thankful for every day. We are all so blessed... Thank you!

God Bless and gentle cyber hugs to all...


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Congratulations on that one year mark! I reached mine last month and took a moment of reflection (a MERE moment is all I'm allowed to myself and I have to "steal" that, it seems)... So I thought about that "One year" of a holding pattern and how the MD Anderson folks told me that odds were the cancer would return in the first TWO years and looked at that pretty hard. I don't WANT to spend ANOTHER year with the "What if it's THIS scan?" mentality. I don't want another year that can be chalked up to the cancer winning the psychological battle...

SO, I am now celebrating that the crocus I planted while stuck at home "healing" are popping their heads up! I'm also watching for those tulips and glads and other spring time bloomers to join in the floral chorus...AND I'm talking to hubby about moving and NOT getting the "in between" house, but getting the house I want NOW! No, this is NOT a "so I'm at least happy a little while if I die and then someone else has to pay the bill", it's a realization that NOTHING is ever guaranteed and if I have the funds (or a creative way) to do it NOW, NOW is the time to do it!

Hubby and I are planning a trip in four years to celebrate my five years out. My long-term goal? A trip to the British Isles...pub crawling, touring, shopping, walking, LIVING...

As for those four years leading up to the trip, I plan to LIVE then, as well. So, here's to spring, new life and new realizations...I'm taking control of my own thoughts again, and I'm taking my life back.


aka Snowflake

(Just like my name, one of a kind and stronger in numbers...)

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