Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Happy Caniversary to Me

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

Today is a pretty big day for me. 

It’s my two-year cancer diagnosis anniversary. My Canniversary. 

I should be celebrating – I’m mean I’m alive, right? 

But I’m not. I’m in a more … reflective mood. 

Two years ago, I got the phone call where I was told that not only did I have breast cancer but that there were multiple tumors and it was invasive. 

Not good. Not good at all. 

It started a series of truly unfortunate events. From doctors who blatantly disregarded my requests because they thought they knew better than I did about how I wanted to treat my body to people who refused to learn about the possible impact of PFAS on my body and illness (fired that one in a heartbeat.) 

It continued with horrible pain and even more horrible pain management because there is the mistaken belief in the medical world that “women can tolerate pain” and therefore we don’t need pain meds. 

And then there were post surgery body image issues. 

And more pain. 

And weakness. Unbelievable weakness. 

And fear. 

And anger – red-hot lava anger at not being in control of my own health and at the injustice of discovering that my cancer is most likely caused by the unGodly amount of PFAS chemicals in my blood. 

But there was the support of the cancer community who openly embraced me, and who then started dying one-by-one. Some people who have been diagnosed with cancer at the same time or even after I did have already died of their cancers. Not all, but enough to make my heart constantly hurt. 

I think of them often. Truly there, but for the grace of God go I. 

Tests indicate my cancer does not respond to chemo, I did not qualify for radiation, and I refused hormone-blockers and instead had all my reproductive organs removed (technically it was done because of the PFAS level in my blood, but it certainly helped in lowering my estrogen levels.) 

This is me apparently raw-dogging cancer. Other than supplements, I am not getting any treatment. I have no idea what my future holds. The only thing I know is that my docs think a recurrence or a new cancer is simply “a matter of time.” 

It is only through luck that I am still alive today. But as we all know, luck tends to run out at some point. 

My life is now constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop. 

A new ache – has the cancer spread to my bones? 

A new lump or is that a bug bite? 

A freckle??!!!

But don’t get me wrong. Although everything has changed in the last two years, not everything was bad. 

Even though I was at my weakest during this journey, I have also never been more committed to my values. I have found a new kind of inner strength. 

I understand, I truly understand that I am gifted with each day. I appreciate being able to wake up each morning. 

Cancer also tends to enable you to give “zero fucks.” I really don’t sweat the small stuff anymore –  you can carry that load, I’m not interested. If you are familiar with the Monk story, I have learned to put the lady down. 

My priorities have been sharpened. My previous ability to tolerate and not call out bullshit has been decimated. I just don’t put up with garbage anymore. 

Because I don’t have to. If I see it, I call it out. 

This is my life to do with what I please and I choose to spend it (however much longer I have) fighting for the rights and dignities of others. Fighting for what I believe in. 

Getting into Good Trouble. 

It’s why I filed to run for State Rep two weeks after I was diagnosed. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I figured, if I’m going down, I’m going down fighting. 

When I was first diagnosed, I set up a personal altar of inspiration and populated it with powerful, inspirational figures. I used milestones that some women never get to see. 

Six months after my diagnosis – I put kickass Wonder Woman on it. 

Six months after my first operation – I put the “strong one”, the sister who quietly endures from Encanto on it. 

One year after my diagnosis – I put Athena, the goddess of wisdom on it. 

So there is some kind of acknowledgement to this day. I’ve made it. I’m here to keep on keeping on. 

So for this 2 year “caniversary” I am adding a Woodland buddy to my altar along with her mushroom. It’s made by a friend (Hi Mel) who reached out early on to give support and who has continued to give me support. She has also walked this journey and helped to lead the way with her courage, creativity, and persistence.  

It also acknowledges that this journey has involved luck as well as, let’s face it, a little bit of organic magic. I have made some of the most amazing authentic connections during this journey. I have met friends that I never would have met were it not for cancer. I have heard truths that are not spoken in public. Truths of strength, inspiration and hope cautiously whispered from one person who’s been there  to another. 

We all belong to a secret club of resilience. 

We are here, even though fear and future illness forever sits on our shoulders, as long as we breathe we will continue to be active members of this thing called life. 

So happy canniversary to me and hats off to the many incredible, strong, brave and brilliant people who are also fighting cancer and chronic health on a daily basis. 

We are here. 

Happy Caniversary to me

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog