I’ve been glowing lately.  From the inside out.  Feeling happy, and healthy, and grateful.  It has felt like rain after a drought.

But today I had a setback.  Today after meeting with my general physician I left the office with angry tears hot on my face.  She didn’t say anything earth shattering, just reviewed what I had been through in the 365 + days since my last visit.  She asked me questions, and then we talked about what still lies ahead.  I’ve been getting shots in my butt every three months to shut down my ovaries (literally a pain in the ass).  And I only have one more herceptin infusion left.  Only one more day to be hooked up to that slow, sad, dripping machine.  I’m almost at the end of this leg of the race.  But what happens next still hangs out there in the unknown.  And we all know that the unknown is where the creepy shadows hide.  It is in this space that stress and anxiety can still find me.

Next month I will start taking a pill every day.  A pill that blocks out estrogen from my body.  A pill that I will take for AT LEAST five years, maybe 10, maybe more.   Because my cancer was hormone fed, blocking hormones will help prevent a recurrence.


That word feels like a million pin pricks every time I hear it.

There is no room in my brain to fathom a recurrence.  It just will not happen. It can’t.

So I will do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t.  For now that includes exercising as much as possible, eating way less meat, way more vegetables, and doing my best to avoid processed sugar.  And in a month it will include taking a pill.  A pill that has the potential to cause night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, depression, irritability, sleep disruptions, and joint pain.

And hearing that list of possible side effects today really enraged me.  It made me so mad.  It brought me back to my fantasy of breaking dishes and screaming “FUCK” until my throat is raw.

I want to be done.  I want the medicines, and side effects, and talks about cancer to be over.  I want it all in my rear view mirror.

I’ve been living lately like it is.  I’ve been forgetting that I had cancer.  I’ve been finding benefits to my short hair, discovering great joy in exercising again, appreciating the energy I have with my kids, and feeling a deep sense of happiness.  Like the kind of happiness that leaves me falling asleep with a smile on my face, and waking up ready to love the world.

But today was a setback.  Because I had to hear about side effects.  And because she said the phrase “preventing recurrence”.

Setbacks are real, my friends.  And they suck.

But here we are.  It’s November.  Every day that sneaks by leads me closer to the year marking my diagnosis date.  We are back in fall.  The colors are so vivid.  The trees are so proud of their beauty.

And I am wise enough to know this is just a setback.  Just a rough moment, a bad evening, a tearful jog through fallen leaves.  This too, is temporary.  I will feel it, and then release it.

I will feel it, and then release it.

Tomorrow is a new day.


3 thoughts on “Setback

  1. “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being!” -Hatiz of Shiraz- Stay strong, stay courageous, stay focused on the light and the good, stay the course, stay busy living, stay “astonished at the light of your own being,” just stay


  2. Recurrence is a huge fear. I talk/pray to my aunt Jean daily who died of cancer with the original diagnosis of breast cancer. I often channel her energy. I tell her that I have the strength and the courage THIS time, but I don’t think I could ever go through this again. It is so easy to dwell on the scary stuff. It takes real focus to stay positive and truly let the good out weigh the bad. Let’s focus together.


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