it’s been awhile

I haven’t written on here in a long time. I’m just back from three weeks in Italy, which was an amazing trip full of laughs and beautiful scenery but also a fair amount of challenges. I don’t think I can adequately describe all the feelings that came up during the trip — some positive but also a fair amount of negative thoughts. Would this be my last big trip? Why can’t I do the things I want? Why does my leg hurt? Why can’t I show appreciation to the person putting up with me? My feelings may be valid but that does not make them easier to process or easier for those around me to navigate.

Within 24 hours of my return, I was back at MSK, full of radioactivity to see what was going on with the cancer. Turns out NOT MUCH, which was very exciting news indeed. Good scan news is not without its own challenges. Especially since I had spent a fair amount of time of my trip worrying about those exact results. I long to go back in time and change my attitude, take back some of the harsh words I expressed, but life does not work that way so trying to process some of those regrets. All while trying to plan some fun things for the next few months before I end up back in that scan machine. Three months can really fly by so might as well try and have some fun along the way.

This week is my birthday and I’m trying to reframe how I view getting older. It is a privilege, not a chore, and should be celebrated as such. This week also kicked off the ever-present Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which can be an awful lot for a breast cancer patient. I’m pretty f**king aware of breast cancer and don’t need a pink ribbon to remind me. I have also learned that a lot of companies claim they’re raising money for BC are not sending those dollars to research and let me tell you, when it comes to cancer of any type, research is where it is at. Research leads to breakthroughs, which leads to new drugs, which leads to MORE TIME. I’m on my second line of treatment and while I’m holding steady on it, we don’t know for how long. My doctor talks about having a lot of things up her sleeve but her sleeve is not endless. I need her sleeve to keep providing me with options and those options will come from research.

October is also the month where I lost my dad and that always brings up a lot of feels. It has been almost 11 years so I can say I have adjusted to life without him. But boy when I struggle does my heart ache for him. Eleven years of life without a person can create a distance between that person and your life. A distance that is inevitable but can cause pain. He hasn’t seen this apartment where I live, he has never met my boyfriend, he doesn’t know where I work, he wasn’t there when I was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve gotten used to him not being here but that acceptance brings its own pain.

All of that is to say, I am feeling an awful lot of feelings as I process my scan results, face a birthday, honor my dad, and try and get on with living. I’m working on my living list (a bucket list but reframed slightly) and plans and lists provide me with comfort especially when I’m feeling a little lost. And that’s about where I am these days. Things always seem to settle down and I have to learn how to navigate the ride till they do.

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Michelle T

Sometimes funny lawyer-writer person battling breast cancer in NYC