December 23, 2012

One year ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I vividly remember all the tests leading up to this day. Strongly recall the evening before… AJ coming home to find me eating an entire cherry pie straight from the bakery box, chain smoking cigarettes, drinking whiskey and crying (I know, I know.   Not my best decisions.  I was under a lot of stress.)… and curling up in bed that night to sleep, all the while begging God Above to please please please let it not be cancer.

But it was.

I also remember how grateful I was to have AA in the doctor’s office with me the next morning to keep me steadily laughing… even if it was laughter of the nervous persuasion… and holding my hand while I received the hard truth.

Shortly after my mastectomy, an acquaintance who had stopped by to visit with me, in full-blown awkwardness over not knowing how to react to the situation at hand, asked me, “What have you learned?”  It made me laugh at the time.  It was such a bizarre thing to say in the moment.

But a year later, I seem to have learned quite a lot.  About myself.  About the super-humans who grace my life with their presence.  About what perseverance, strength, love, friendship and beauty really mean.  And looking back at all the pleading and praying, endlessly hoping until the very last possible moment that it was not cancer… I fully realize that this diagnosis has, strangely, been a blessing and not a curse.

Don’t get me wrong.  If I had a choice, I obviously would have chosen ‘not cancer’.  But I have no anger over the events of the past year.  And I am grateful for the lessons cancer has revealed to me; for the deepening of friendships cancer has given me; for the doors to healing cancer has opened for me.

I am indebted to each of you that has shown support, emotional and financial.  I cannot thank you enough for your investment in me.  My life.  I promise to do good things with it and hope that will repay you all for your kindness and care.  You have honored Christmas in your hearts and have proven to keep it all the year.  I will try to do the same.

End cancer chapter 21.


2 Responses to “Cancerversary”

  1. Tara W Says:

    Merry Christmas, Gwen! You deserve it. Rest, eat, drink and be merry. And don’t forget to watch Muppet’s Christmas Carol.

  2. Lupin Says:

    You are an inspiration, Gwen. Thank you for sharing parts of your journey here. I’ve learned quite a bit about embracing the moments we are afforded from reading your words. Thank you and a Happy Healthy New Year to you and yours.

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