I’ve spent a lot of time looking back these past couple of months. My series of first anniversaries are well underway. Finding out chemo was a for sure instead of a maybe. Starting chemo. Losing my hair. These are not things I ever wanted to think about again. Too many dark moments.

A year ago, I was half way through chemotherapy. By this point I was bald. I had a closet full of hats and scarves and had figured out how to manage most of the side effects. Hard to believe it’s been a year.

I have to say that it’s not that much fun looking back, unsurprisingly. When you’re going through it, you are focused on the outcome, on being positive, on channeling energy to the fight. The emotional journey of looking back is like a roller coaster – highs of being thrilled to have made it through happy and healthy, and lows revisiting the fear and mental toughness that it took to get through. It is draining. I don’t want to spend a lot of time “there”, but I also don’t want to ignore it, either.

It’s been a good year, in every way. My recovery is on track. I’m feeling better. My energy is good. I finally lost the pounds and puffiness the side-effect managing steroids put on! I feel less and less like a cancer patient and more and more like the old me. My body is doing well.

Last year I was too sick to eat Thanksgiving dinner. One of my scheduled chemo dates was the Thursday before Thanksgiving. This year, I’m ready for stuffing and roast potatoes. And gravy. And pumpkin pie – having just completed sugar-free September with the Canadian Cancer Society.

The best way out is through. I am almost through my firsts.

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