10 years on

20140829_195145_resized (1)Now that August is almost over, I am reminded that August 2004 was eventful for me, as that month I started chemotherapy for breast cancer.

It has now been 10 years since I bought this wig. If I ever need it again, I’ll need to streak it with white and grey paint. I must also say that having cancer was very interesting, especially since I survived. It was fascinating, to me, but once is enough.

Here is a picture of the spreadsheet I made to keep track 20140829_204023_resized (1)of the medications I took at home between chemo visits. That was the logical thing for me to do, as an engineer with breast cancer.

At that time in 2004, I reflected on my life and said to myself that I “needed” another 10 years in order to not feel cheated of life. Mainly I had to be sure that my kids were well launched as adults. The 10 years have passed, and I’m pleased that all 3 are doing really well. I am certainly not ready to depart this earth voluntarily, but I will consider all future years of good health to be bonuses.

My hairdresser once asked me (I told her about the steel-wool-curly hair that grew back for a while) if having cancer had made me more empathetic. I paused and thought and blurted out that I thought maybe it had made me less empathetic! It certainly humbled me, focused me, and challenged me, but I also became more blunt and less patient with entitlement and wimpiness.

I do not particularly think of myself as a cancer “survivor.” When I get dressed in the morning with the prosthetic boob, my emotions are no different from when I look at my aging face in the mirror.

My focus today is on my impending retirement and my wish to enjoy the next 10 years to the full.

Here is a shout out to my “Starting chemo in August 2004” friends from the breastcancer.org forum. That was my first experience of internet community. Hi Diane, Candy, Patti, and Maria, who I still have some contact with!


5 thoughts on “10 years on

  1. Clare,
    I am happy to have made your on-line acquaintance, and pleased to be able to wish you happy 10 years and to wish you many more decades ahead.

  2. I went with you first time for your chemo. Was it 10 years ago? It seems much longer. I was under the impression it happened in the last century.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Clare. I really admire your positive outlook. I can relate to the spreadsheet – I would have done something like that. I wish you a wonderful retirement, plucking weeds and organising your house, and many happy long distance travels. Kindest regards, Maggie

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