How can I sum you up? It’s easy to think only about the things “that didn’t go well”. I’ll acknowledge them because they have contributed to my growth, however I will also list all the good you have brought me.
In the “didn’t go well in 2020” column:
- Spinal radiation aimed at my cancer tumour in my spine
- The addition of a palliative treatment, a bone modifier, to slow the progression of cancer in my bones
- 1.5 months of being bedridden in January and early-to-mid February, where I truly thought I would not have the energy to make it through another night and wake up to see the light of day again
- COVID-19 lockdown
- The end of my marriage in early spring
- Not seeing my children for ½ of the year
- 3 of my breast cancer friends were told their cancer had now metastasized, meaning it is Stage 4 and were also given an average life expectancy of 2-3 years
- Lost my first friend to breast cancer since my diagnosis
- At least 48 needle pokes
- 22 cancer treatment infusions
- 18 scans (MRIs, CT, bone scans, ultrasounds and x-rays
- Having to ask my parents to use their vehicle as I needed transportation post-separation
- Christmas was funded exclusively by my parents, my brother and Santa (of course)
- Way too many hours spent crying
- 42 counselling sessions to deal with “my year”
In the “good 2020 brought me” column:
- Enjoyed (almost) every single minute I was able to spend with my children. There might have been once or twice I locked myself in the bathroom to have a few minutes to myself. 😉
- Was a Terry Fox ambassador who helped raise awareness about cancer research
- A true moment of pride finding out that my daughter was Terry Fox’s 6th best fundraiser in the country for the Terry Fox School day
- Woke up stronger every day and fully recovered from the worst effects of treatment by the summer
- Continue to participate in 2 studies relating to exercise, nutrition and general wellbeing and their effects on cancer progression
- Learned to accept my life as a single parent with Stage 4 cancer
- Realized that the cancer doesn’t define who I am inside
- Am in better shape this year than last
- Made new friends
- Strengthened existing friendships
- Rekindled old friendships
- Took every opportunity to socialize with permitted outdoor physical distancing activities or through video calls
- Shared my cancer story as it relates to dealing with living with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of Alberta Cancer Foundation’s “Albertans helping Albertans Fund” fundraising campaign
- Found myself smiling and laughing so much more these past few months.
- I was reminded that I have reasons to dream again
So, my dear 2020, I won’t lie. I am glad our relationship has come to an end even though it ended much better than it started. I will now bid you “Adieu !”
And to the incoming 2021 year, I look forward to kicking off your arrival, not bedridden as I was last year, but by celebrating it with my parents, brother and a few family friends via Zoom. I can’t remember the last time I celebrated New Year’s with my parents and brother… It must have been in the early 1990s.
While some of the people in this picture are already in 2021, the rest of us will be there shortly.
With that, I will say “Hello 2021! You have given me reason to dream again.”
Happy New Year to all my readers!