Last weekend I went on my first out of town trip since my diagnosis in April, 2015. Usually we go on a beach trip at least once per year but 2015 was the year of The Cancer, The Bilateral Mastectomy, The Chemotherapy and The Radiation. 2016 was the year of The Reconstruction. So last Saturday we traveled to San Diego for a few fabulous and cool weather filled days on the beach and one day at the awesome San Diego Zoo. I wore a swimsuit for the first time since cancer. I have to admit I wish I never had to lose my boobs but these new ones are pretty damn nice in a swimsuit top. Also it is AWESOME not to have to ever worry about a bra.
So one bad thing that happened was I had another fall (for those who don’t know, I am blind in my left eye and trip, fall, and bump into things fairly regularly). More about that here. I was walking with my daughter and husband on the pier and was taking steps forward with my phone to capture a picture of some ducks in the harbor and of course I tripped and fell. On cement. It hurt like a motherfucker too and the scab and bruise didn’t look very good with shorts or my swimsuit. After boogie-boarding with Lili for an hour, and on top of my ouchie I was so freaking sore and tired. I’m 51 but I felt like 80 years old instead of my usual 70 but I was on vacation and I was going to enjoy myself dammit.
I am so grateful for this trip because first – it’s like a sauna in Phoenix right now and second – the beach is my very favorite place on earth. I don’t know if it’s my new appreciation for life or what but the ocean air smelled better than I ever remembered, the sunsets were more beautiful, and the feel of the ocean waves against my poor scarred and battered body was like heaven. It’s true for me that I do enjoy life more now. I have the stiff joints of a 70 year old and hot flashes from my cancer medication but I am powering through it. I am so thankful to still be here and I feel as though I am working hard to appreciate life’s moments and opportunities that I was oblivious to in my old life. I don’t know how my life would’ve turned out if I hadn’t gotten breast cancer and I will never know, so what-iffing is pointless. I am not thankful for cancer but I will always be thankful for the confidence, strength and appreciation for life’s little miracles cancer has given me. My soon-to-be-in-high school daughter gets it too because she thanks God for the gift of each day.