Today marks the one year anniversary of #BCSM Chat*. The anniversary chat, held this past Monday, highlighted how much we have grown and how important this group has become to all of us. Together we have celebrated good news, shared wisdom and honored those whom we have lost. While we “meet” weekly, we also know that others are only a “bat signal” away if we need support or have a question any day (and thanks to our international flavor, at almost any time, too!).
On Monday, as we discussed what the group has come to mean to each of us, I got to thinking about freedom. I know freedom and cancer don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand seamlessly, but for me they do.
If you know my story, you know I am a 10+ year survivor who, after nearly two years of watching a tumor marker blood test rise and rise, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer nearly a year ago. As I reflect on the changes in my life since that day last September, one of the most significant changes is that I am free to live without the fear of recurrence. As I wrote in a previous post, the other shoe had finally dropped, and while there was suddenly plenty to worry about, there was also freedom.
I marvel at the freedom granted by my mets diagnosis. While I may wonder at times how the story ends, and I occasionally worry about the impact and side effects of treatment, as well as possible drug resistance, they all pale when compared to two years of living with the Sword of Damocles hanging from a precarious thread.
Being free, I am able to take action. Being free, I can make fully informed choices about how I will spend my time. Being free, I can stop worrying about the expectations of others and be true to myself. Being free, with a clear sense of what the worst-case scenario looks like, I am able to celebrate sharing each day with those I love most.
Today is the fourth of July, and as Americans we celebrate our freedom. I pray that each of us have the awareness to USE our freedom today!
*If you don’t know, #bcsm is a twitter group of breast cancer survivors, supporters and doctors who participate in a weekly hour-long chat to learn together, support each other, and share their experiences. If breast cancer has touched your life, I urge you to join us (you can safely lurk!) on a Monday at 6 PM Pacific, 9 PM Eastern by going to www.tweetchat.com and typing “#bcsm” in the search box.