If I'd been in this series, last time they filmed me I would have been a school secretary, raising my kids, healthy and happy, hopes for the future - for my children's lives, thinking my husband and I would retire and perhaps move to Arizona where we'd travel, grow old together.
Cut to today. Those of you who have read from the beginning know what a long, difficult road the past five years has been. It would be impossible to share it adequately in a ten minute TV segment, and so what they would show is a woman who appears happy and healthy. The years of worry, pain, fear, acceptance - all would be glossed over. And they have changed me so much that I believe these have been the most important years of my life.
The Soul Pancake people did a good job of capturing the love I feel for my family and what living with disease is like, but it's hard to get the day-to-day struggle I have experienced and still am going through. It is also impossible to understand the amazing experience it is to still be here after having very little statistical chance.
Oh, I can describe what I've been through in a short paragraph. "I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2009 and had a mastectomy, chemo and a year of herceptin. Metastatic cancer was found in the liver in 2011, and since have had a liver resection, ablation, 7 chemos, SBRT, nearly died from C-Diff Sepsis, and finally achieved remission with the Herceptin/Perjeta combination."
That describes the story - but doesn't tell it.
Can one? People are visual, and I don't really have many pictures of myself as I went through it, but could I tell the story in a short time with what I had?
I did a little short video with flipgram to see if I could sum it up. This barely skims the surface. But here it is.
I have a PET scan coming up. I have pain in my right side that I honestly believe is scar tissue and not cancer, but we have to check. I hope it shows I'm still in remission but won't be disappointed if it doesn't. I think it will be fine though, and on the 21st I start an exercise class for cancer patients to try to control some of the pain and strengthen my body. I am clawing my way back to that woman of five years ago. I once again have plans for the future, different ones than before. Now have to include medical treatment every three weeks, and all that comes with that. I am not going to leave the state, I'm not going to start over with new doctors and insurance, and I am not healthy enough to travel, at least not yet. But I have plans just the same and that is miracle enough.
I look at the people in that Up series a little differently because I understand that there is no way that their experience can be captured accurately. Think back over the past five years of your life - can you sum it up in ten minutes in such a way that people understand all you have experienced?