One year later

One year later, tomorrow is but a memory.

One year after my surgery, I am whole again.  Still.

One year passed since my double mastectomy; my body is healing and becoming stronger every day.

One year after the last cancer left my body, I go days without obsessing about what may come.

One year later, I am not looking back, but looking forward.

If I did look back, this is what I’d see:

Nineteen months ago, I was diagnosed with cancer.

Sixteen months ago, I thought I’d never see the spring.

Fourteen months ago, I lost the use of both my legs.

Thirteen months ago, I was too weak to have chemo.

Twelve months ago, I lost my breasts.

Ten months ago, I developed lymphedema in my arm and hand.

Eight months ago, I suffered through daily radiation.

Five months ago, I gave up my ovaries.

But …

Four months ago, I began walking in the morning with my friends.

Three months ago, I made changes to my diet, as if I could live forever.

Two months ago, I ran my first race since childhood, and I have plans for more this spring.

One month ago, I celebrated Christmas with my family, twice, and put up a tree, and helped the children decorate it — which I couldn’t do last year, or the year before.

Three weeks ago, I spent several days in a row working, and made great progress on a long-term project.

Two weeks ago, I served on a NASA review panel and made connections I might need later.

One week ago, I held a party for friends and playdates and didn’t once think about the cancer.

Today, the anniversary of the date I prayed for and tried not to fear, I spent doing the little things.  Making french toast for breakfast.  Taking Widget to preschool.  Playing on the floor with Little Bear (and helping him put the flashlights he took apart back together).  Grocery shopping.

It was just another day.

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Realizing that it’s impossible to live each day as if it were your last.  Just living.  Every. day.

And realizing how lucky we are to have today.

Happy Anniversary, Team WhyMommy.  Thank you again for all your support and love during the year I had cancer.  You, my friends, family, and doctors, made all the difference.

One year later, I will never forget.

37 Responses to One year later

  1. What a wonderful post! Congratulations to you and your family and you are such an inspiration on so many levels. So glad I know you IRL!

  2. jodifur says:

    yeah for you! I’m so impressed with your strength. It inspires me everyday!

  3. Thank you to you too, for the inspiration and perspective you always provide. I’m so happy for you that you can just live life every day!

  4. ShallowGal says:

    You ROCK !

    xoxo, Amy

  5. Robin says:

    Happy happy anniversary. Happy happy day!

  6. Viola Jaynes says:

    Happy Aniversary! What an inspiring and very moving story. It makes such a difference when we understand our reason to live. Life is precious! I am glad you are here.

  7. Happy, happy anniversary, Whymommy!! A whole year… wow. You kicked cancer’s a$$ right to the curb, and we’re all so very, very proud of you.

    This week, a dear friend of mine from highschool received her diagnosis of Paget Disease of the Nipple. She has three little girls, and is in crisis… But, I have referred her to your blog– so full of information, wisdom, inspiration and hope!!

    Thank you, once again, for sharing your journey with us.

    xoxoxoxo CGF

  8. Bon says:

    you make me beam. happy happy anniversary, survivor.

    love to you.

  9. *m* says:

    Wow. The way you rock your life is phenomenal, and sets the bar high for humble readers like me.

    Looking forward to continued inspiration from you and your blog for many, many years to come. Congrats!

  10. whymommy says:

    Candygirlflies — Paget’s Disease. Damn. Sorry to hear that! But hopefully it’s contained and can be removed pretty quickly … the question she’ll have to face is what about the rest of the breast? (Paget’s is often associated with another tumor.) If she has concerns about surgery, reconstruction, etc., feel free to send her also to MothersWithCancer. There are 20 of us dealing with it over there, and she can find out what and how other survivors dealt with reconstruction by going to the site and selecting “what we’re talking about” and then reconstruction. Just an example, for when she’s facing tough questions.


    I wish no one had to go through this anymore.

  11. Amanda says:

    Oh, but the size and light of the circle that has gathered around you over the course of that year. The lessons we have learned and the courage we have witnessed. Thank you, friend.

  12. marty says:

    Happy Anniversary indeed.

    I’m glad you are still here, my friend.

  13. planetnomad says:

    Oh it’s hard for me to believe it’s been a year, but I’m so glad!! Congrats. Enjoy today and every day.

  14. Alice C says:

    I know that each day has been a personal triumph for you. I wish you many, many more so that you can achieve all the things that you dream of.

  15. Leanne says:

    You are an inspiration. I am so thankful for you!!

  16. JHS says:

    Congratulations Susan — on your recovery, the anniversary and for receiving the Post of the Day Award from The Rising Blogger.

    I’ve been reading along with you since you first announced your diagnosis and appreciate your willingness to speak out, sharing so much of yourself and your experiences in order to educate your readers.

    So glad that you are feeling well and happy!

  17. kami says:

    Wow a year, and what a roller coaster ride it was. So glad it’s behind you and your enjoying life again. 🙂

  18. Keep up the positive outlook on your future. We are both lucky gals. I just celebrated my 2 year remission mark this past October. Life is grand…no looking back!

  19. tracey says:

    Happy Anniversary, hon! What a day to celebrate!!!

  20. NYfriend says:

    Wow, so much in a year! You’ve made some amazing progress. 🙂

    Thinking of you…

  21. deb says:

    Happy Anniversary. And I’m so glad that you’re here to celebrate. You made me smile when I read this. Thank you.

  22. Kimberly says:

    What a beautiful anniversary 🙂 xo

  23. sprucehillfarm says:

    What a wonderful thing! I love celebrations like this.

    Happy anniversary, I am right behind you on that one 🙂 Yay us!

  24. kgirl says:

    Congratulations 🙂 Health and happiness for 2009.

  25. Ally says:

    I am just so happy for you; one year! Here’s to many, many more! xoxo

  26. Lisa says:

    I will never forget either ;).

  27. I’ll admit I fell out of blogging and haven’t kept up on reading very many other people’s. But today on a message board someone posted their symptoms and said they had heard of IBC but their doctors weren’t listening. I immediately thought of you and found The Post to share with her. I am happy to have found such an uplifting (current!) post and to know that you are still a fighting inspiration.

    Congratulations on this milestone. May you have many, many more.

  28. mo-wo says:

    For your broad mind remember how much you have taught this year, too.

    For your dear heart… Your words are too kind. You owe us nothing. Kisses on every forehead in the WhyMommy? household tonight, from the ‘Wos.

  29. magpie says:

    And you live for tomorrow.

    So glad you’ve got this year under your belt.

  30. Amelie says:

    I’m so happy for you.

  31. Meg says:

    Happy Anniversary, WhyMommy!!!! I’ve never met you, but feel like I know you, since I’m a frequency visitor and reader (ahem, lurker) on your blog. And, this is bizarre, but we have the exact same cancerversary — I had my breast cancer surgery a year ago on January 23rd, when my twins were almost 2 years old.

    Here’s to the difference that a year can make — in me, in you and in the lives of our children. And here’s to many, many more years to make a difference.

    Sending you, and all Mommies with Cancer, positive glowing energy and peace.


  32. Michele says:

    Thisis a beautiful post…thank you for reminding me daily about the little things. You are a beautiful person!

  33. whymommy says:

    Wow … you are all so beautiful, and so nice to me.

    Thank you.

  34. […] honored!  Janie, at The Rising Blogger, honored Toddler Planet and, specifically, One Year Later, as Post of the Day.  Thank you, […]

  35. Thank God, and happy anniversary. 🙂

  36. Christy says:

    You are such an amazing inspiration! I still find hope and strength reading about your everyday life now, and I can’t believe it has been a year since your surgery . Congratulations to you and your family!

  37. Rebecca says:

    I love the way you described your journey- so simply, so effectively. I just discovered your blog and the way you write reminds me of my mother. When you wrote, “it’s impossible to live each day as if it were your last. Just living”… I can see Mom saying this. I documented her fight against breast cancer for the website I work for (icyou). She’s recovering and I wanted to share her story with you.

    Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more and I’ll add you to our blog roll.

    Best- Rebecca

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