Last week I saw one of those “On this Day” Facebook posts showing me a photo from a year ago. It was the picture of the night that Tasha shaved my head and I officially joined the cue ball club. When I saw the photo pop up my immediate thought was, “it’s already been a year????”, which was followed immediately with another thought: “it’s only been a year????”. All at once it felt like the picture was taken a lifetime ago and just yesterday. I remembered vividly the feeling in the shower that day when the hair was falling out steadily and I knew it had come time to shave it off. I remember the fear of the unknowns: what if my head is a weird shape? What if I have an offensively shaped birthmark under that hair? What if I don’t like how I look with short hair? And a million other irrational thoughts that kept me up at night.
The biggest thing that this Facebook reminder showed me was how much has changed from last year to now. This time last year I was in the thick of it, not working, not playing ball, still recovering from surgery and feeling all kinds of chemo induced badness. Today the view is much, much different. If last year felt like my life was put on a frightening hold, Life after cancer is starting to feel like the next Fast and Furious sequel (sorry ladies, Vin Diesel isn’t in this one).
Today I walked across a stage wearing a polyester robe and a square hat to receive a degree that I have been working towards since fall 2012. When I was diagnosed I was crushed at the thought of skipping a year of school. It already felt like the never-ending post secondary experience because I was juggling a full-time job and school and I couldn’t imagine extending it even further. After much thought and discussion, I eventually made the decision to continue to take classes during treatment hoping to just make it through. I am so grateful to the faculty at Langara College for supporting me and that decision because today I got to hear my name be called and move my little tassel from the right side of my hat over to the left.
As if that wasn’t enough, on Monday I will be taking all of the things I learned over the course of getting my degree plus the 12 years in the Recreation profession and will be starting a new position managing the operations of a large recreation centre (**Breathing into brown paper bag**). Becoming a manager in the city I work in has been a goal of mine for many years and it is equal parts surreal, scary and exciting to embark on this new adventure.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Tasha and I have hit reboot on the wedding plans and get married in just over a month (**More brown paper bag breathing**). MY AMAZINGLY AWESOME stagette was last weekend with some of my favourite people doing some of my favourite activities and eating/drinking all of my favourite things. Ultimately, I am beyond thrilled to start this new chapter with Tasha by my side and we can’t wait to celebrate our love and good health with our family and friends.
The funny thing about having had cancer is that no matter how much amazing stuff (or stressful stuff, or terrible stuff, or challenging stuff, or…) is going on in your life, you are always reminded that life is fragile, precious and short so revel in the good moments and don’t get bogged down by the bad.
Wishing you strength, love, and happiness in your future. XO. Betty Anne