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March 4, 2013
On March 4, 2013, I will surpass the four-year anniversary of my first mastectomy surgery following my diagnosis of breast cancer. I will be looking forward to celebrating another year from this fateful date. I use the term “fateful” very delicately. According to the Encarta and English Assistance US Dictionaries, fateful is defined as “…having an important effect on the future, with highly significant often dire consequences.”
Well, anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer may feel this definition is extremely accurate. Many would agree that hearing the words –“You have breast cancer!”- IS a fateful event with dire consequences. When I was first diagnosed, I felt those worrying feelings and could not believe-“I had breast cancer!” It was an extremely scary situation for me.
However today, I would disagree with those feelings. The consequences of having breast cancer have not been dire in the realm of things. I am one of the lucky ones. Please do not misunderstand me. I wish I did not go through breast cancer. However, I am a better person because I have passed through this trial in my life.
It was not always that easy. Four years ago, I was scared to death when they told me I had breast cancer. I thought I was going to die. No one in my family had beaten this disease. I thought I only had two to four years left to live! Although, the medical personnel was telling me that we had caught my cancer in the early stages and my outlook was good, underneath my layer of confidence I was very much frightened and not convinced that this indeed was the case. My mind raced with many thoughts. Internally, each one collided and tripped over the other one to the point I thought I would hyperventilate. Exteriorly, I was calm yet confident things would be ok. It was confusing. It was hard for me to believe that –“I had breast cancer!”-when I felt so healthy.
Nevertheless, I did have breast cancer and I had to keep reminding myself that I did. The fact of denying that -“I had breast cancer! – would not help me remove it from my body. Thus, as I faced this dreaded disease, I read a lot. I tried to find my cure. I prayed. I tried to weigh my odds. I tried mentally healing myself. I tried to ignore it. I tried just about anything to make the statement – “I had breast cancer” to go away. But, it wouldn’t go away – at least not until I had my mastectomy surgery.
Thus, as I waited to see my surgeon, I did everything I could to occupy my mind and accept the fact “I had breast cancer!” Anytime, I would encounter a friend, it would help me to convince myself when I told them – “I had breast cancer!” I began writing emails to family and friends to keep them abreast (no pun intended) of my situation and diagnosis. Slowly, I began to accept the fact – “I had breast cancer!”
Writing the emails helped me to stay focused on being positive and forced me to look forward. In the scope of things, this was not the worst thing that could happen to me. I didn’t realize at the time how therapeutic writing these emails was for me. Not only was it therapeutic, it actually launched the idea to write a book about my breast cancer journey before I knew it was an idea.
Thus, after dealing with the anxiety, diagnostic tests, needle pricks, and the shock of learning –“I had breast cancer,”-I finally convinced myself no matter what I did or will do – “It is what it is!” Although, I prayed for healing, comfort, and acceptance, it was not until I went to my surgeon and schedule my surgery that I knew I was going to be all right. I knew I had turned the corner when we scheduled my mastectomy surgery on what I called “ACTION DAY” – March 4th. March 4th has always been a special date on the calendar for me. It is the only date of the year that tells us to do something – MARCH FORTH. For me, it is the most positive day of the year!
Therefore, with my surgery scheduled on March 4, 2009, I knew my life was going to go on no matter what was on my plate. From that date on, I was going to make the best of each day as best as I possibly could. I realized no one is beyond the cycle of life no matter how good or bad a person can be in society. No one has any guarantee of a full long healthy life.
Therefore, I am feeling a little more at ease as I approach my four-year anniversary of my surgery date –March 4, 2013. Although I totally have a new body from the chemotherapy, surgery, and daily medicines, I am still here whether you like it or not! Although, my body hurts tremendously and I do not have the same stamina or brain sharpness I had before all this happened, I AM STILL HERE!
Thus, I have spent the last four years stuffing memories and parenting witticisms into my children lives whether they realize it or not. I am more alert and aware that life can be taken away quickly as well as slowly. I am thankful I have made it another four years to watch my children begin to grow into independent young men. Although this thought may seem overboard to others, it is not to someone who has been told, “You have cancer!”
Thus, as March 4th approaches, I will again celebrated whole-heartedly. I will surpass the deadline I thought I had been given when I was first diagnosed. It is like having another birthday in the calendar year. With this upcoming March 4th, I feel more elated and at peace than I have the previous four years. Although, I hope the beast called cancer will not return, the thought still taints a small corner of my mind. I neutralize this thought by stating, “I hate cancer!” Furthermore, I refuse to let that beast rob me of any more opportunities in my day.
Yes, this beast is not going to rob my attitude. I am going to win that battle and ultimately that war. With God’s help, I will continue to march forward to help those who need that insight. Some days, this is easier than others are. But when it gets down to a simple point in your life, I remind myself that I am still here when some of us are not. I tell myself to stay positive! I HAD breast cancer! I AM going to make the most of my Today-because yesterday is gone and tomorrow never gets here!
Thus, throughout the past four years, I have done a lot of mental traveling. Breast cancer has forced me to take another path I would not have traveled. You could almost say, the process forced me to reinvent myself. Even though breast cancer can be a dire situation, the consequences for me were mostly positive. My journey initiated an outlet for me to begin writing for others. It is very therapeutic for me. My hope that it is for others as well.
Thus, as we approach another March 4th in our calendar year, I hope you all have a great day. I know I will. All of you – Stay Positive! Stay Strong! Stay Kind! Stay Healthy! Let’s find the cure for cancer…and MARCH FORTH!
Happy March 4th (Forth) everyone!
And as always…MARCH FORTH!
Marci A. Schmitt
Marci A. Schmitt
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