2021

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I was getting ready to send 2020 on its way and excitedly looking ahead to a new year, vaccines, and a lot less pandemic. I was having a twinge of a pain in my right hip at the time but I chalked it up to a few half-hearted attempts at running earlier in the month. That proved to be very wrong and for the last eleven months, I have been dealing with return of breast cancer and recovery from a broken leg.

Today I went for a 30 minute walk completely unaided by my cane. I still lean a smidge to the right (which pains me in more ways than one) but my right hip is getting stronger due to my dedication to my PT and the motherfucking clamshell exercise that makes my right butt burn in a way I did not know was humanely possible. My team at MSK put me on the road to recovery and I’m doing my darnedst to stay there. My family and friends have supported me in ways too numerous to count during a year that was challenging for a whole host of people, not just me. We thought we were on the other side of this whole COVID thing, only for the holidays to bring a new variant, cancelled holiday celebrations, and a return to “should we do a zoom happy hour?” texts from friends. (No, the answer is still no.)

My body has bounced back and most days, my spirits are good. On the days they are not so good, I find myself ruminating on all that cancer took from me. I try to be happy for others celebrating milestones that I’ll never see but oftentimes my heart remains heavy and my well wishes seem to ring hollow. I don’t judge myself too harshly for those days and find that wallowing when your mind wants to is an important part of this process. It is impossible to live with what I’m facing without cutting yourself some slack every now and again. But I’m committed to living this life as best as I can for as long as I can. I have a scan coming up in a few weeks and with my blood work headed in the wrong direction, I am not as confident as I have been in the past. I want to stay on my current medications for as long as I can which means I need them to keep working to keep my cancer nice and quiet. So I’m ending this year with a host of emotions: some fear and anxiety, with a bit of hope and humor weaved through. It’s all I can ask of myself today.

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Michelle T

Sometimes funny lawyer-writer person battling breast cancer in NYC