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    Loss (My mind/Sense of Humor): I think any cancer diagnosis is a loss. A loss of the life you thought you were going to have. I had to grieve for the loss of that life and am learning to accept that my life will no longer be the one I was picturing.

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    Decision Point (How do I go forward?): Once treatment is over your friends and family tend to think the cancer is over too. Even though I am currently NED, I still worry about recurrence every single day, often many times a day. I've learned/am learning mindfulness, which is really just focusing on the moment and finding joy now, today, and not letting your imagination go ten steps forward. This is not denial, I know I have cancer, but it really helps no one, me especially, to worry about that today. There will be time to worry about that when it happens. So easy to say and hard to do.

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    Clinical Trial (metformin/placebo): This a a 5 year trial, still open I believe. It was discovered that diabetics taking Metformin (a very common, safe diabetic drug), who also happened to get breast cancer, seemed to have a longer period without recurrence.

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    Radiation (External radiation ): I thought I would HATE going everyday but the staff was so great that I got to like the routine. The hardest part was lying in that room, alone, with all the giant red X's warning about even entering the room and there I was get zapped by those green beams. I tried to think healing thoughts but usually I just closed my eyes and tried to think about something else. Sometimes I sang to myself. Occasionally I would cry if I let myself think about it.

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    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Chemotherapy): I made it thru. You will too. But it is no fun. Perhaps losing my hair was the worst since I hated the hot wig and wearing a hat, it was still obvious I was bald underneath. I hated the pity looks. I also hated the chemo and all the drugs they gave me to fight the chemo effects (especially the steroids mixed with the ativan (like valium), I felt jittery and sleepy at the same time. Ugh..

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    Procedure or Surgery (Axillary Lymph Node Dissection): I had 18 (out of 18 removed) positive lymph nodes. I thought it would be much worse. I have a little lyphodema, not really noticeable. I often feel a little sore under both armpits, probably the sore lymph nodes that are left trying to work hard.

    The worst impact has been emotionally. Trying to focus on today and not jump ten steps ahead to worry about the future. With all those positive lymph nodes I feel like the cancer is still there, just hiding for now, even after surgery, chemo, radiation and a year of herceptin. I can only hope I'm wrong but I do try to find joy in each day and practice staying mindful (in the moment).