Newly initiated into the sisterhood of breast cancer, a flood of oncology terminology overwhelmed my brain — stage III breast cancer, lymph node involvement, chemotherapy, radiation. I was in the midst of the storm of breast cancer but my many years in the mental health field had taught me that positive thinking can help manage stress levels and is linked to a longer life span. I made a conscious decision to search for the rainbows, even on the darkest days.
I started my journey by planning a party. A celebration forty years into the future, on the anniversary of my diagnosis: October 17, 2052. I spent sleepless nights planning the details…candles on white tablecloths, blowing in the ocean breeze as the sun is setting on the beach. Planning this party helped set the stage for a year of treatment as I met with my oncologist.
In the midst of a consultation about chemotherapy, one question kept looming in the forefront of my mind, trivial for the scope of the conversation but I had to know. “Will I be well enough to enjoy our annual trip to the beach next summer?”
My husband’s eyes widened in disbelief as my oncologist spent precious moments in the stark white oncology office counting down sixteen weeks of chemotherapy, recovery time for multiple surgeries and twenty eight radiation treatments. I would finish treatment a mere two weeks before our annual trip to Sanibel Island, Florida in July. My calendar overflowed with surgery dates, oncology appointments and many months of treatment but I kept my eye on the prize… long walks on the shell covered beach. …