June 7 - National Cancer Survivors Day ®
"It is a day for everyone, whether you're a cancer survivor, a family member, friend, or medical professional. "
Several years ago, I began not feeling like I had no energy. It was gradual - over several years. (2011, 2012, 2013) So by 2013 and 2014, I no longer had ANY energy to go out and take photos. Anyone who knows me, knows I would rather shoot than eat. In fact, it was a struggle to get out of bed and go to work. I know what you are thinking, Kim, why didn't you go to the Doctor? Well - I did starting in 2011 trying to figure out why I was feeling low energy. Long story short, I went to several Doctors in an effort to find answers. It wasn't until May 16, 2014 - through an MRI because of a pinched nerve in my neck did I find out I had cancer. The Doctors never did find the issue, only patting me on the head as if to say - there, there middle aged white woman - it's just stress.
May 16, 2014 was also about 35 days out from my wedding. Why yes, this is where my life began to resemble a made for TV movie! My now husband and I soon married - in a wonderful ceremony in a tiny chapel in Kansas City, MO. It was the best of day of my life. From there it was doctor after doctor appointment, surgeries, tests, and did I say doctor appointments?
I was finally diagnosed with Follicular lymphoma, high grade - mixed follicular and diffuse pattern B- Cell, stage 4. In other words, my once slow growing form of Lymphoma was transitioning into an more aggressive form. The petscan showed I had cancer in ALL of my bones. In late July, I started chemotherapy - 6 rounds of R-CHOP. Early August, I had my husband shave my hair off. It was starting to fall out and frankly that was one of the few things I did have control over.
From late July to mid November I got my chemo infusions. To say it was difficult is not even being real. It was hell. Feeling sick, exhausted, in pain (bone pain), mouth sores and a whole host of other issues. Not to mention being bald. My wonderful husband, took me to appointments, held me, bathed me, made sure I had food in me (at one point cream of wheat is about all I wanted and could eat), washed/ironed my clothes and loved me. He is the reason I made it through. After the last chemo in November, I mostly spent my time in bed. I was exhausted and just miserable. Thankfully by Thanksgiving - I was feeling some better and we had a wonderful dinner.
Six months later I am still in remission!!!! I am doing chemo maintenance and will continue for another year and a half. This cancer survivors day I am celebrating remission. I wasn't so sure last National Cancer Survivors Day that I would be around for this years. Thank you Kerry. I love you with all that I am.
I am here! I am alive! I am a survivor!