"There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed." ~Ray Goforth

I have been lost for words lately. Part of that I have realized is trying to recreate the past and put it on paper. That was my biggest mistake. Often as one goes through trials and failures, one tends to “block”or forget part of the reality, that piece of hell that existed during that time. So trying to talk about the events of the trauma that started in 2011 with my first diagnosis of breast cancer and all the tests, surgeries, scars and emotions that filled my soul at the time is gone.

I am going to write about the now, which of course will pull the pieces of the past to create the foundation of my future, but it will be more emotional rather than exact facts. For the journey of my second diagnosis, and the events as they occurred, you can follow that experience on my page at https://www.facebook.com/BreastCancerAndMe . Today the journey begins with the now. Where cancer has brought me and the road I will travel.

Through all my diagnoses and treatments I worked as a Director of Nursing. I worked so hard and was so sick at home that I lost my daughter to the disease. I couldn’t see what she needed because I was so wrapped up in getting through the day, the moment. I wanted to show my children strength. and the strength to “Never give up”, and in return my daughter moved back with her father. I understand that this was not the only factor, but we rarely ever talked about it. We never talked about how she felt shaving my head and seeing me walk around the apartment bald. We never talked about the nausea, the vomiting, the crawling out of bed in the morning to take her to school, sometimes even walking together, because I was unable to drive. I was so busy fighting, I never sat down and asked her how she felt. I figured she was fine. I never saw tears, I never saw pain, but then again I was working everyday I could and when I wasn’t at work I was at chemo. She never came with me. Maybe I should have brought her.

My son was already living on his own. I saw him periodically, but we never had the conversation either. Emotions I guess were just covered up,unfortunately I taught my children that. When I completed chemotherapy and began my radiation, my son and my future mother in law made the ride with me almost daily. If one couldn’t make it the other one was there. Again, there was no discussion of what was happening, how I felt, how anyone around me felt, it was just about winning, there wasn’t any other options. Don’t forget though, even winners have some regrets.

The last phase of my chemotherapy I was reintroduced to my high school sweetheart, Bobby. We dated sporadically during my freshman year in college, and then he was gone. I always held inside that I wasn’t good enough in some kind of way, because he just left, but then when I was at the most fragile time in my life, he reappeared. My head was bald, my frame was anorexic, and my heart was broken from years of abuse and pain, but he held on to my smile and for reasons unknown to me he picked me up, dusted me off, and kept my head high. (Okay, I’m still working on shoulders back.) He saw the side effects of the end of chemo and the constant journey of traveling back and forth to Boston for 33 treatments of radiation. He has loved me unconditionally, he has taught me about trust and commitment, and he also taught me about leaving the past in the past. Learn from it and then let it go. I don’t know where I would be without the circle of family and friends that helped me keep fighting, even on my worst days, even still today.

Thank You,
Monique
“Nique Strong”