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Ten Years....and I've Graduated!!

On this day, ten years ago and in the early morning hours, at sunrise, I was wheeled into the operating room at Sacre Coeur Hospital, in Montreal, for the biggest operation of my life. At the tender age of 45, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I decided, with my doctors, to undergo a double mastectomy. After ten and a half hours in the operating room, and more time in recovery, I was finally brought down to my room; just as the sun was setting. An entire day was lost in the arms of Morpheus, as the teams of doctors removed the cancer from my body and rebuilt my breasts. And during that hot and humid summer night, with the only sound in my room being the contracting of the pressure boots on my legs, I seriously didn't know if I would survive the night.

Ten years later, on a hot summer day; alone at my desk in the office, I tenderly picked up the phone to return a call from my oncologist. I knew he had been to the hospital tumour board with my case the week before. There he had planned to present my case to the various medical professionals on the board, and together they would determine the next steps in my treatment. When my doctor finally got on the line, we exchanged pleasantries, and then he told me that the board had collectively decided that I did not need to take any more medication, and that I no longer needed to see him. 

I should be jumping up and down for joy and dancing a jig. All at once I am ecstatic and profoundly sad. Almost the same feeling I had when I stopped chemo and was no longer going to the hospital every two weeks. I have been dumped by my oncologist. He has broken up with me! After almost ten years, I may never see him again. With all these years behind me, I also know that this is a normal reaction. Seeing my oncologist every six months was a sort of security blanket, and my nice, comfortable, but worn blanket has just been tugged away from me. 

Once it sinks in, I will be happy, grateful and relieved that I will no longer have as many hours of waiting for my appointment at the hospital. And how fitting that this news came on the very day that my journey to recovery started, ten years ago. A journey that involved the love and support of my family and friends. One that, I hope, showed my daughters that whatever knocks you down, you should get right up and move on. A journey that made all of us realize what is important in life. One that made the bond of love for my babies, who were between the ages of seven and thirteen back then, so strong.  I'm so proud at how they handled it all. The world sure does work in mysterious ways. It's time for a celebration!

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