Happy Cancerversary to me

It’s my cancerversary.


Today, November 7th, is officially the one year mark of my official cancer diagnosis, and a hell of a lot has happened! I keep rewriting this post, because I’m not really sure what kind of a vibe I’m giving off, but I just took a breathe and reminded myself to type as if I’m having a conversation with someone… so let’s see where it goes…


I’ll start with the fact that today I’m grateful – because look at me now! I’m through the thick of it, I’m healthy, I’m recovering and I’m alive. So if that doesn’t represent the meaning of being grateful then I don’t know what does. I look at my kids and I’m grateful they have no freaking idea how serious of a situation it was, and how much worse it could have been.


I’ve been reliving everything, which is… interesting. It is hard to describe how I feel, but there are definitely some feelings about it all. I can’t help but think about everything I’m doing these days in the context of ‘then I got cancer’ or ‘because I had cancer’. It’s not negative, or anything like that, it just is, and I can’t help it. So I’m trying to allow myself to feel all the feels, without judging it, or myself.


Also, I’m a little annoyed. Is it ok to admit that? This diagnosis was a major disruption in my life, to say the least. It has changed my career, it has changed my relationships with people and it has changed my outlook on life. This was a life changing experience, for me and for a ton of people in my life.


I am a bit scared that it isn’t over. I know that it technically ISN’T over because I’m still in a form of treatment, and I still have a surgery ahead of me. But I also know that it technically IS over because there is no evidence of cancer in my body, and I’m finished with all the hard stuff. But what if they missed something? What if it comes back? I hate to think of these questions out loud, but they’re there. I don’t let it paralyze me or anything, but it’s a tiny little voice that speaks up almost every day, if not a couple times a day. I’m sure it’ll fade with more time, and trust me I look forward to that!


     breast cancer, mastectomy, cancer, lindsy matthews, southlake hospital

(Me, last year. Nov 7th diagnosis and Nov 28 surgery)


All cancer patients seem to have a different ‘cancerversary’. In my conversations with the many people in my situation, it seems to be most common that it’s the day they found out they were cancer free. And this will obviously have a different definition for everyone… because we have all had different experiences all together. Some have a scan months after treatment ends, some consider it to be the their last day of treatment, and for some it’s a date they’ve chosen because of something significant in their experience. BUT MINE feels like today, because it was the day everything changed, for the rest of my life, because of cancer.


So it was on this day last year that I was diagnosed, a plan was set in place, and I had approximately 3 weeks to prepare myself, my family, friends, colleagues, clients and basically all aspects of my whole life for what was to come. Then it came, and then it went.


So, happy cancerversary to me.

Fitness after Cancer treatment

Getting back into my fitness routine has been anything but easy. My workouts felt challenging at a fraction of what I was capable of before cancer, my endurance was non existent after treatment, and when I didn’t immediately snap back to my ‘old self’ I was honestly pissed off.


Oh and I literally still have a port in my chest, that delivers medication directly to my heart (*shutter*). All I know is that consistency, determination and a positive mindset is what helps me.


I FOCUSED on the breakthrough that was always around the corner – whether it’s a 3km run, being able to hang straight from a pull up bar (still working on this one thanks to 2 surgeries!), adding small plates to the bar at the squat rack or being able to tread water in a pool -these are all small wins BUT they lead to the bigger wins!


Whatever challenge you are working through physically, keep working on your mind and your body will follow!

Forever scarred, yet so much stronger

A common theme I’ve noticed by talking with many cancer patients and survivors is that life after cancer treatment is challenging in a whole new way. We all mostly ‘move on’ with life, but will never be the same again.


We are exhausted, but so grateful; we are anxious, but full of hope; we are scarred, but so much stronger; and we are extremely aware that this is the only life we have.


We’re changed – because our cancer experience now plays a part in all aspects of our lives. It’s a part of our decisions, it comes with us to work, it helps us raise our children, it intensifies some relationships while minimizing others, and can even send some of us on a completely different life path.


It’s a lot to accept, but ultimately out of our control. So, one day at a time it is, doing our best, always moving forward.

This time last year

It was exactly this time last year that I was in the process of diagnosing my breast cancer via ultrasound, mammogram, biopsy and MRI.


21 days after my official diagnosis, I had a double mastectomy including the removal of 6 lymph nodes and immediate temporary breast reconstruction. Then I completed chemotherapy and radiation, while targeted hormone therapy still continues.


A year later, it’s a surreal feeling to look back and ask ‘did all of that actually just happen?’ Because seriously, it all happened so fast.


It’s #breastcancerawarenessmonth – so be aware and feel yourself up! If you’re not sure what something is – go to the doctor and figure it out for sure. #breastcancer #cancer