Saturday, September 18, 2004
A Good Day
It is amazing how different I feel when the veil of fatigue lifts. For each treatment it has happened at roughly the same time frame, around the eighth day following chemo. This particular cycle was rather dramatic with low lows following treatment and high highs as I started to feel better. The great part of this is that I don't realize how badly I feel until I start to feel better. When I feel how good, good is, I then realize how bad I felt. Wow, I hope you understand what I am trying to say! Bottom line is that I feel really good this weekend and for this I am so grateful.

Today I was out with my sister and we stopped for lunch. While we were waiting for a table, I noticed two women waiting nearby. Both women were a bit older than us and seemed happy to be out as if this were a special day or special treat. As I looked closer I noticed that one woman was wearing a hat that was covering her bald head. As I looked closer I noticed her eyebrows were expertly drawn in. She looked beautiful in her coordinating pink outfit. All the signs were there: hat, loss of hair and eyebrows, wearing pink. Perhaps I am generalizing, but it seemed that she too may be going through her own journey with breast cancer. I smiled knowingly in her direction and then my instinct was to run as far from her as possible.

The reaction shocked me. I was ashamed of myself. It was like that first day at the oncologist's office when I couldn't look at anyone and couldn't wait to leave. I wanted to run then because I didn't want to be "one of them." Could it be happening again? Now? It seems as though I shout from the rooftops that I have breast cancer to make people aware of this terrible beast. Why now when I see a "sister" did I want to hide?

I've given it so much thought and my conclusion is that today I felt so "normal." I was out with my sis doing some shopping in Pasadena and stopping for lunch. We haven't done that in months and it is one of our favorite things to do together. Seeing her made me realize how much my life has changed and that old view of normal may not be reality again for quite some time if ever. We may indeed do our Pasadena thing, but I will never be that same person again. The strange thing is that I am okay with that.

Nobody should get cancer to find a deeper meaning in life or develop her spirituality and connection with others. Prayer, meditation, soul searching, reading, hiking in the Himalayas with a Sadhu . . . I could list a million ways to seek out a deeper meaning in life and dealing with cancer would not be one of them. Maybe it's just a way to find something positive in this journey or maybe my mom was always right -- I never do things the easy way! As much as the negative side effects have impacted me physically, the positive side effects have made their impact as well. I will keep that beautiful woman in my prayers that her journey be swift and her recovery be long and joyous. She has become one more friend for the journey.

Today indeed was a good day.

Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12