Five Years Ago Today…

Five years ago today I had the life-saving surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from my body. Not only was the malignancy removed, my entire left breast was removed.

Five years ago today I had a huge incision across the concave side of my chest and a drainage tube at each end. Of course, five years ago today I didn’t actually see the incision. That happened five years ago tomorrow.

Five years ago today we didn’t know exactly what we were dealing with – if the cancer had spread and what kind of treatment I’d have to go through.

Five years ago today I had a lot of questions. Or at least I think I had a lot of questions. Five years ago today I was on pretty good meds so I might not have had any questions other than when I’d get the next happy pill.

Five years ago today I knew my life had been forever altered, but I had no idea to what extent. Five years ago today I figured I’d go through treatment – whatever that might mean – and eventually everything would be back to normal.

Five years ago today I was a little delusional.

Five years ago today somebody stole my pink ribbon car magnet off the back of my van while I was having a mastectomy.

Five years ago today the surgical waiting room was full of people I love with all my heart. Those people prayed for me, they told stories about me and they ate my peanut M&Ms.

Five years ago today I assured those people I love that everything would be okay as I left them at the surgical waiting room on my way back to pre-op. (I might not have been quite so magnanimous had I known they were going to eat my peanut M&Ms.)

Five years ago today I sang “I Want To Be Sedated” as they wheeled me into the operating room. At least that’s the story Todd tells. With my history it’s very likely.

Five years ago today my sister, Terri, and my Mother-In-Law went shopping and bought me all sorts of beautiful things to make my recovery as pleasant as possible.

More than five years ago today I believed Todd loved me and God would see us through this whole ordeal.

Five years ago today was the start of that belief turning into knowledge.

Today is a huge day for me. Five years in the life of a cancer survivor is a big thing. It’s that magic day when the risk of recurrence or metastasis is reduced. I like the sound of that.

But…

Today is the day after Lynn Redgrave died from breast cancer.

Today I have breast cancer sisters with recurrences and metastases.

Today I’m thrilled to have made it to five years with my four favorite words, “No Evidence of Disease”, but I can’t help but think of those who haven’t been so fortunate.

So…

Today I will celebrate my milestone.

Today I will enjoy the beautiful roses Todd bought me.

Today I will relish every kind comment either in person or on my Facebook status.

Today I will thank God for my good health.

And…

Sunday I will walk in the Philadelphia Race for the Cure for every woman I know who has dealt/is dealing with this disease.

Today Todd gave me a dozen red roses and five pink roses:

Today Todd gave me five more pink roses for my bedside table:

Today it’s good to be me.

Crossposted at Mothers With Cancer

14 Comments

  1. Tiffany on May 3, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    very nice. 🙂 Well written.

  2. Terri on May 3, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Congratulations on the 5 years. I was just thinking of your surgery last week, and how your "entourage" was told to be quiet in the admissions waiting room – was it twice?? (and, they weren't your m&m's)

  3. Paula Lynn on May 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Praise the Lord!

  4. Jenster on May 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you, Ladies.And Terri – those were too MY M&Ms! But I'm not bitter…

  5. Gretchen on May 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I hate that you had to go thru this, but I'm so grateful to God for His perspective in you, & grateful for this very special day. Xxxooo

  6. Travis Erwin on May 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Today, I bow to all you have fought through and accomplished.

  7. Lori on May 4, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Beautiful words (and beautiful flowers). Congrats on 5 years!

  8. Julie Hilton Steele on May 4, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Beautifully written but it sounds like Todd needs to be giving you 5 bags of M&Ms to mark the day as well!

  9. radioactive girl on May 4, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Congratulations! (which sounds strange but I'm not sure what exactly is the right words for the thankfulness I feel that you are doing well)Tomorrow is when I had my surgery 5 years ago. I seem to be leaving confusing sentences here today because that sounds odd to me but I can't figure out how to re word it and make it sound normal.Anyway, I am so happy to have met you and am so incredibly happy that you made it to 5 years safe and healthy. Awesome! I have a few more checks this month but it is pretty good odds based on previous tests that I am cancer free as well. Hooray!

  10. Carpool Queen on May 4, 2010 at 11:05 am

    This made me laugh and cry all at the same time.

  11. beans on May 5, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    not that i would ever be glad that you had to go through this, but i am amazed to read every one of you words, and with tears in my eyes i am thankful for you and the journey that has shaped you.it has been so wonderful to be on the journey with you . .even if in small ways like church when i have no one to sit with. this made me cry, and i needed to cry. so thank you for being you, and for sharing with us the laughter, the tears, the wisdom, and the just plain funny. i bet it hasn't been easy to say the least . . .many many hugs to you friend!

  12. Kellie on May 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Congrats! What a wonderful anniversary! The flowers are beautiful!Raising my coffee mug to the next five!

  13. lisasmith on May 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I read this somewhere not knowing it was you who wrote it… Mothers with Cancer blog?Anywho… yaay and what a beautiful day. kissing normal goodbye really stinks and yet I find myself very thankful for it every.single.day. Weird.So glad for your good report!!!!!PS I told my man about all your flowers… hopefully he'll remember in 4.5 years!! 😉

  14. wolfclan84 on July 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Five years for you, too, Jenn? I got my "no sign of disease" a couple weeks ago after a bone scan and a CAT scan. Congratulations! I'm squeezing my girls in yer honor! And…in September, I'm going to Scotland to celebrate. September 2005 was the last chemo session for me. Hang in there, Sister! Big Hugs!Grace B. in California

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