I was planning on writing about my experience with Tamoxifen earlier than this, but I was pretty much a poster child for it the first year. I know, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. I knew there were numerous side effects that you could experience while on Tamoxifen, but the only real issue I seemed to have was aching hips from time to time. Diet and exercise seem to help manage that aspect. I do feel like my head is in a fog occasionally, and I have trouble remembering things sometimes. They say that’s normal for menopause any way with lower estrogen in your body. I was just experiencing it a bit earlier with the medication induced side effects.
I did a post last Valentine’s Day about the state of my heart not too long after my breast cancer surgery. I figured it might be good to do an update a year later and post cancer.
Those first few months were agonizing and long. I wanted to die rather than face this battle. I cried many tears. I know it was hard for those closest to me. I shut people out and buried myself from the world.
While it was probably the lowest point in my life, I can look back on that time, and see that it wasn’t the end of the world like I thought it was at the time. It was a very difficult, intense time but in the end, I think I’m better for it. If I had a choice, I would not choose this path; but, it is my path and from it, I’ve learned that I can get through just about anything now.
Here I am looking back at 2015, starring down 2016 and wondering exactly what this next year has in store for me. 2015 certainly didn’t go as I had hoped it would, but in the end, it’s been an amazing year in spite of battling breast cancer, and several family deaths that brought some intense emotional battles to my family.
What I had hoped to be a simple process of getting cleared to fly again, has met another speed bump on this road called life. After being declared cancer free by my oncologist, the FAA wasn’t completely convinced, and wanted an MRI of my brain since it was the only part of me that hadn’t been scanned.
There are days that my heart still aches for a different time, days when I remember what it’s like to be so absorbed in a moment that there’s nothing else you can see around you. Moments when I could melt from the heat raging inside of me, of a fire burning so strongly it fills my soul. A warmth like a kiss of sunlight on my skin, a breath so deep and slow and full that my eyes close and I just inhale deeply, and feel my chest rise. I remember a time before cancer when I could get lost in my own thoughts and hide from the world. I remember when flying made me feel like this. There are times when I want to remember, but other times when I think it’s best not to dwell on it too long.
It’s been just over two weeks since my reconstruction surgery was done after my mastectomy. I was looking forward to getting this one behind me. It’s been a lot more difficult and painful than I thought it would be, and they only gave me two weeks of medical leave this time. I’ve struggled more with this surgery than I thought I would have.
My wonderful oncologist, true to his word, got me in to the Senior Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to work with me on getting back to flying. I was so excited to have this appointment scheduled; I couldn’t wait to go. It’s probably the first time that I’ve ever been anxious to go to a doctor’s appointment, especially lately with my recurring list of appointments. I’m beginning to feel like an old person that has to plan their week around all of their medical appointments. Geez…
I don’t think you wake up one morning and say I think I’m going to be brave today. I don’t think courage is something you consciously decide to do. I think courage comes from within and unexpectedly, in moments when you decide not to give up regardless of how you’re feeling. I think it comes when you decide to push on in spite of obstacles in your way. Sometimes, I think it comes when you decide to sit out for a round. I believe that knowing when you’ve had enough and need a rest also takes courage. Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith that comes from somewhere deep inside of you to muster the courage you need to proceed.
I can say with some certainty that I understand how a broken winged bird must feel. Once you’ve tasted flight, felt the wind in your wings, looked down on Earth from a clouds view, how could you live a life grounded for the rest of your days?
There is an anxiousness in the air and my nerves are on edge. I’ve been waiting for this day for weeks now. This is the day I see my oncologist to find out if the pathology results show that I need chemotherapy or not.