Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm 40!!! And I'm Still Here!!

Today as I celebrate my 40th birthday I can't help but feel relieved to finally let go of something I have been carting around in my little head for the past 8 years.  Something I wish I hadn't worried about.  Something that was said to me by a doctor I had been working with at the time.  

He was a cancer survivor too.  I thought that would fix the bad bedside manner I had so often seen him exhibit with his patients.  He asked me how my treatment was going.  At this point I was in the middle of my chemo.  Then I told him I decided to not take tamoxifen.  (Let me just say here that it was my personal decision, one that I felt was the best for me.  I am not against the use of that drug for the treatment of breast cancer.)  I explained to him my reasons and then he dropped the bomb on me.  

"If you wanna live to see 40 you better take the tamoxifen."  he said.

My stomach dropped to my knees.  It made me want to reconsider my decision.  It made me scared.  I just wanted to live.  What if I didn't because I wouldn't take that drug.  

All of that has been rolling around in my head taking up residence there for all these years since I have survived breast cancer.  With each birthday I celebrated it popped up.  I tried to ignore it but as this birthday crept up on me it was full on in my face.  I hate that I let it.  

So as I watched the clock strike midnight I thought "Well, 40, here you are and I am still  here! It felt weird and all good at the same time.  Having never thought I would make it to my 32nd birthday it feels pretty good.  

Then I thought about the voice in my head that had been there for so long.  His voice.  He is no longer here....he has since passed away.  Like so many others.  

I am still here and all I can do is make the best of the life that I have.  I need to be easier on myself, be more forgiving to myself, and have more fun!  I don't play nearly enough.  I don't want to get so caught up in the worrying.  There is just no time for that.  I hope I can take my own advice this time!

So I am off to spend the day with my husband.  Nothing crazy, just the simple things....those are what I miss the most...

How do you celebrate your birthdays?  Did you feel as though your life was shortened when you heard the words  "You have cancer" ?  How do you deal with it?


Anonymous said...

A thousand congratulations to you for a) making it to this birthday, and b) silencing the voice! Happy birthday - wish I could sing via this media, but alas, there are limits, even in today's world.
And, yes, I find that birthdays this year (the first of many years of living in remission)mean something more than they have before. But, then again, so do any "special" days. It's an appreciation of life we have been given, and it's an amazing way to live.
Hope you have something special planned to celebrate this wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Happy Life to you Cathy! Though I have not survived cancer within myself, I have shared the frightful journey as a passenger of whom the cancer resides with. I don't have the precise answers, but I do know the experience is a jump start on ones (and everyone that is connected in some way) spiritual awareness for this gift of life on earth. Definitely a consciousness raiser! I think the answer to a long life lies in the ability not to fear death! ps...that doctor sounds so familiar, I'm afraid to ask! Be Well, enjoy the ride!

Daria said...

Happy Birthday!

Yes enjoy the simple things.

Cathy Bueti said...

Thanks for the great comments and birthday wishes!
It was a wonderful day spent with my husband ...went to a nice dinner in NYC...was great to spend time together...he doesn't get many days off. That was the best part....time with him for the day.

Unknown said...

I can so relate,
for me its 3 years in remission now
and total terror with every recheck mammogram.i was married 25 years and as he cheated and divorced me I was going thru a mastectomy rt side and a lymphectomy and then chemo trying to save my life.I felt abandoned and devastated in every way. I have my own business so I had no time to be sick and he had left me with a huge mortgage.
finally after chemo i went thru expander surgery and coming outta that -I had a anesthesia reaction which caused a heart attack.6 days later out of the coma -I got outta that hospital ,and found my hearts ok. but I have an unfinished implant now as I am weary of the surgery and recovery,and i have to run my business to stay alive.
I spiritually have grown and learned what is most important in life.
I am celibate because im so shy of this unfinished breast.But thats not important as the thought of being loved again by someone is.
Yeah Theres no guarantees in life and cancer taught me -your life IS what it is and its a changed game so accept it and embrace each day.
Also I am on arimedex and its aweful but my gal pal (who stopped it a year ago) --shes now in metastatic spread , SO YES that dr saved your life insisting DONT stop the tamimoxifen.HE was so right.
May god bless every woman and girl who experiences this journey ,its hope and its struggle and its always hoping forever again--that your life will go on.

Cathy Bueti said...

Anonymous....thanks for sharing your story. what a tough road you have traveled but it is good that you have realized what is most important.

As for your comment on the tamoxifen....I never took the tamoxifen. Although that doctor tried to scare me into it I stood by my original decision and did not take it.

Hope to see you here on the blog again sometime!