Where Have I Been And What Comes Next?
You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted in quite a while. Well, life hasn’t been going according to plan. As I’ve shared in the past, I have an autoimmune condition (Ankylosing Spondylitis), and this December, I got to add a new medical issue to my chart.
I had an abnormal mammogram in April so my doctor asked me to return for another mammogram 6 months later in October (tip for everyone – DON’T schedule a return mammogram in October when EVERYONE is getting a mammogram because it’s breast cancer month).
Well, my October mammogram showed a bigger “issue” and a new one to boot so I was instructed to schedule a biopsy, followed by surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells. During the surgery preparation, they discovered an issue in the other breast so they operated on both breasts the week before Christmas.
Long story short, I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (a.k.a. stage 0 breast cancer). Thankfully, since it was found so early, I “only” needed another surgery (if you’re keeping track, three surgeries in three weeks) to remove the cancerous cells and will be taking Tamoxifen for the next five years to prevent a recurrence. I have been on many different medications over the last 9 years and Tamoxifen has been the worst medication I’ve been on, in terms of side effects, by far. However, I do consider myself fortunate that I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy or radiation.
So What’s Next?
Well, while I like to consider my cancer a “baby cancer,” it definitely gave me a wake-up call. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family and my genetic testing showed no genetic causes for it. What that basically tells me is, there are just no guarantees in life and I don’t know what the future holds, so I better make the most of the time I do have here.
I’ve decided to make a pretty huge career change and return to school to get my teaching credential to become a middle school or high school English teacher. It has been exactly 20 years since I graduated from college. Not only am I 20 years older, I now have two kids and an adult life, which is much harder than being a normal college student.
I figured I’d document my journey here for any of you moms who are on the fence about making major life changes because of the kids. I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m hoping it’ll be worth it. I’ll get to do something that will make a difference in people’s lives and my kids will see that it is never too late to chase your dreams.