“My Voice” by Cindy Haskett

Cindy Haskett - 'Survivor'

Breast Cancer – I have to say I never thought I would have to deal with that.  And if I did, I thought it would be when I was old and had already lived a long life.  When you’re 36 and healthy you don’t think you could be affected by such a thing.  So when I was told I had Breast Cancer I was shocked, and then immediately went into “fight” mode.

I definitely won’t say that the months spent in treatment were easy, because chemo was probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure.  But a true test of strength also comes when the treatments are over, and you’re stuck with wondering “now what?”  And that’s a scary feeling.  You’re left with a body that doesn’t necessarily look the same, or feel the same, and you have to try to figure out how to find your “new normal”.  You have to learn how to live your life with the lasting effects of the treatments, and with the fear of not doing any more active treatment.  You’re left with the thoughts of “where do I go from here?” and “what if it comes back?”

I guess like any other tragedy or major disappointment in life, it just takes time to adjust.  Time to get over the initial shock and fears, and to learn to trust in your body and in your life again.  I’ve been out of treatment going almost 5 years now (I entered my 5th year of survivorship in December of 09)  Of course, I know my battle may never be over, because I know it can come back any time, even many years down the line.   I’m not perfect.  I don’t live each day completely regret free, nor do I do everything picture perfect.  But I have learned to live each day without too many regrets and to have fun in life, and to love, and give my kids, husband, family and friends as much of me as I can, or they can stomach, on any given day.

I still have fears of the cancer returning.  I think that will always be there in the back of my mind.  And I am still anxious when I know I have a routine appointment coming up.  But I also know I’m doing what I can to keep myself healthy, and that’s all I can do.  I try to eat healthy (most of the time), and I stay active by running and doing other forms of exercise.  I am grateful that I am able to live my life.  I wouldn’t want to waste it, as that seems like it would be a slap in the face to my Breast Cancer sisters who have passed on.  I want to honor them by living my life to the fullest.

I hope and pray often that we will have a cancer free world very soon.  Until then, I am touched by programs such as this that try to get the message out about Cancer.