Oddly enough, I don’t often write much about my former life as cancer patient, cancer survivor, cancer thriver, cancer cowgirl (I give myself a myriad of titles) here on my blog, but I’d like to change that. After all, it was cancer that made me rethink my life and turned me on to a plant based diet, a vegan lifestyle and, it is the very reason I am typing these words right now.
Last week I underwent my yearly breast MRI. You might think that I’d be used to them by now, but it continues to be a very tough experience. It’s the big, scary day of the year filled with IV’s, needles, nurses, and a pale blue patterned hospital gown. Each year I don my cowgirl boots to help even out my nerves. Last week was no different. My boots seem to help provide me with temporary superpowers, or so I imagine they do. Not only do I begin each MRI visit wondering, “Will they find cancer again?” but this day each year is responsible for flooding back years worth of memories, the memories of course of what it was like to have cancer. While inside the MRI donut, that makes the most god awful noises by the way, I often reflect on why I am there. Oh yeah, I had cancer. Twice. Often I find myself getting teary-eyed and wonder if there will ever come a day when I won’t have to take a ride through the MRI machine. My oncologist tells me that I will need yearly breast MRI’s for the rest of my life. I am skeptical about that. I just can’t see my ninety three year old self hobbling into the hospital to have an MRI just to find out if the cancer has returned. Why ninety three you ask? I am planning to be around for quite some time so I might as well shoot for a ripe age like ninety three, right?
This coming fall will mark my five year “in the clear cancerversary.” Though I was diagnosed in 2008, the doctors don’t consider me five years out because in 2009 they found cancer again. In the world of cancer if you hit your “five year mark” you are considered cured. Strange if you ask me. While I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to that philosophy, I am no doubt excited to be celebrating my five year anniversary come October. Have any suggestions as to what I should do to celebrate?
It’s so hard to believe that five and a half years ago I stopped eating all animal products and became vegan for my health. I could never have imagined that in that time I would overcome not one, but two cancer diagnoses, start my own vegan-related website, give health talks and meet hundreds of new friends in the vegan, cancer and health related communities. I often stop and think to myself, “wow.” Life can certainly be rich and full, especially if you take the time to reflect on the things with which you have been blessed. When it comes to delicious vegan food, supportive friends and my health, I am truly fortunate. Oh, and about those MRI results, I got them back the very next morning. The results were clear…in other words, there was NO CANCER!!! Can I get a YEEHAW or two!?!
Thanks to many of you who have been there for the steps along the way. My days most certainly shine brighter with you in them. And, thanks to all of you for allowing me to share this tid-bit of good news!
Yeehaw and xo, Kayle