My life changed drastically when my doctor told me I had cancer. At that very moment, I had no idea what that really meant. I knew I was going to have to undergo surgeries and a LOT of treatment; however, I didn’t think that would entail giving up the activities that I loved the most. My “every day” consisted of: riding/working on my motorcycles, yoga, snorkeling, and going to the gun range – now all put on hold. I met with my new “concierge doctor” today, and it didn’t dawn on me until after our visit. “I learned a lot about you in the last two minutes”, he said, and honestly, I hadn’t really thought about it until that moment.
Before my journey began, I was very active. Today, I struggle to get out of bed, and “shuffle” my feet like a geriatric woman to get to the coffee pot. My new doctor asked me if I was depressed, to which I replied, “Only when I can’t do the things I love most.” He and I both kept our optimism in play for the remainder of the visit, each silently hoping for the day when my abilities would return. As I walked out to my car, it started to weigh heavily on my mind. The solution: maintain goals about getting back to normal – back to my “new” normal, but that made me reflect back on a slew of questions.
What if I never opted to see if the large lump under my armpit and the one in my breast was really something? What if I had turned down the mammogram and biopsy? What if I would just had continued on, living my life and enjoying the man who had recently come into it? What if I had declined treatment, especially the chemotherapy, that left me with so many side effects that hamper my quality of life? What if I never decided to undergo genetic testing to find out I was BRCA2+?
I sometimes kick myself in the ass for making the decisions I did; however, I think I made the right ones for me. People can look in from the outside and say “oh, you should have done this” or “I wouldn’t have done it that way”. More often than not: they aren’t the ones personally faced with those decisions. One piece of advice I can give is this: make your decisions, and make them with conviction. Don’t let anyone sway it based on their own personal bias. Ensure you make an informed decision, that you can live with, and you’re not going to regret 100% (80% is a better statistic). I can guarantee you will have some regrets, but they were your regrets – to accept and live with – no one else’s.
For the record, I am pleased with 75% of the decisions I made…