The beginning of the new year is always a time of reflection, thinking about the past year and everything that happened, and an offering of a fresh new start. I don't really do much to celebrate the new year (we stay in and watch movies, the countdown, then kiss and go to sleep!) I always start the year out feeling good (no hangovers!) and ready to move forward.
2012 was a tough year, no doubt about it. I can say that physically, it was the worst year of my life. I was scared witless of chemotherapy. All my life I've had the thought that it was the worst thing anyone could ever do to their body. I never thought I'd be doing it. But I made it. I survived. The human body is amazingly beautiful and strong and resilient. And the human brain is amazingly forgetful, thank goodness. I kept journals, I can read about how bad I felt, but thankfully, those memories fade over time, so I don't dwell on them. My last Herceptin treatment is Wednesday then I'm free, but I'm scared too. I won't have anyone monitoring me every 3 weeks. I'll be on my own for months at a time. There are so many conflicting emotions running around my head that I can't quite put them into words yet.
But I won't let fear rule. That's a waste of time. And time is precious. If I've learned one thing this past year it's that time IS precious. We never know how much time we have left so we have to make each day count. I'm not going to go all mushy here... but... hug your loved ones extra tight, tell them you love them. Forgive someone.
What's in store for 2013? I am going to get my health back. I know that the universe laughs at plans and has ways of letting us know we are not in control of The Big Plan. But the little plan is to gain some semblance of control over my body again. Once my Herceptin Treatments are over, I can work on healing my heart. The biggest side effect is heart damage and each successive MUGA heart scan shows decreasing numbers, not in the danger zone, but decreasing nonetheless. Maybe that's why I'm so tired all the time? Anyway, my heart can start healing as my body sheds the last of the chemicals.
I have to change my entire body chemistry, to prevent any new cancer cells from forming. Being practical here, not negative. I know the stats. HER2+ cancers are more aggressive than non HER2. Twenty years ago it was a death sentence. The cells I had were grade 3, fast growing, aggressive. There is some good news. ER+ cancers are the easiest to control with lifestyle changes. I'm already on estrogen suppressing drugs, the next best thing I can do for my survival is to lose weight. Fat cells store estrogen = bad. The more obese a woman is, the higher the chance of recurrence. Apparently cancer cells also like acidic environments and weakened immune systems. Both side effects of too much sugar. I have a sweet tooth, I'll even say I am addicted to sugar. But it's gotta go. My life depends on it. And of course I need to exercise. I need to get into a routine and make it a part of my day. No excuses.
So that's what's on the agenda, health-wise, for 2013. Get to a healthy weight. Strengthen my heart and muscles. Put nutritious foods into my body, reject unhealthy foods. Getting some control back. My battle year may be over, but the war has just begun. I will continue to write about my next battles, my fight for health. It makes me feel more accountable for my choices and actions when I tell them out loud. Even if no one is listening. But if it helps just one person know they are not alone, it's worth it.
Happy New Year everyone! I will keep you posted on everything going on and check in next week.