This photo of her and I was taken on October 4, 2013 at a friends wedding. Earlier in the day, Lucia and I were stressing about typical things like money, work, not having enough vacation, etc... but when we arrived at the wedding, we said to one another that we were going to forget our worries for the night and have a great time. That we did! I laughed and Lucia danced - for hours!
Little did we know that right around the corner were more worries than we ever could have imagined. 27 days later, on October 31, 2013, Lucia and I were sitting in the doctors office when we were given the news that I had breast cancer.
Since that day, we have survived a double mastectomy, 4 months of chemotherapy, exchange surgery, and almost 6 weeks of radiation. And I say "we" because Lucia has been right by my side through everything. She has suffered with me. She has been my strength for me. She has been the voice of reason when I felt like giving up. She deserves the "we." I would say that she is the strongest person I know, but I have to give that title to my mom. Being a mom myself, I can't imagine watching my child go through this. It breaks my heart to think of how much this has hurt her.
As my active treatment comes to an end, I reflect on the way life was and the way it is now. I have been told to give myself time to grieve the old me and accept the new me. I prefer not to be defined by cancer but it is such a huge part of my life story that at this point in time, I feel it is unfair not to give the cancer due credit for changing every single thing. The way I look, the way I feel, the way I think. My sister-in-law and I have had several talks about what matters and what doesn't. Perceptions change, realities change, the small things become the big things and vice versa.
After seeing that photo yesterday, I believe that the grieving process has begun. And now that chemo and radiation are nearly complete, the body has some time to settle down from the adrenaline flowing 'fight mode' that it has been in for the past 10 months and adjust to the new normal.