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Email Diary

December 20, 2000 - The Anniversary

Click here to see a neat Christmas present that Deb got this year.

As it's been a while since I've been in touch, I wanted to catch you up on the past few months. They've been interesting to say the least. Last week was the first anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. Little did I know then what the year 2000 would bring!

First of all, I'm doing fine. Had my first "serious" haircut last week and for those of you who saw me at NSA and liked it short, it is! I continue to get stronger each day, but recovery isn't the quick and easy road I anticipated. The effects of the Taxol have lingered and I have more aches and pains than I would like. I also proved to be ultrasensitive to the Tamoxifen which I was supposed to take for five years, so I took myself off of it. I've learned that I must take control of my own health care and quality of life - the quality of life issue was much greater than the extra 5% survival rate the Tamoxifen would have given. Roy and I have been doing some travelling which has been wonderful. Business is not back to what it was, but I've also learned to appreciate the "down time" and to realize that work will come in due time. My office is extremely well-organized, I've caught up on lots of reading, and I'm back on my exercise program. I am really appreciating more than ever the blessings that the Holiday Season brings - and am so grateful for all of you and your support.

For those of you who have other friends and relatives with cancer, I want to give you a "heads up." Most of us think that the major battle is over when the treatments are completed. For many of us survivors, however, that's just the beginning. During diagnosis, surgery and treatment, we are very focused and time-constrained. Friends rally round, bring dinners (yum!) and come to visit. Email and cards are frequent to keep our spirits high. But once we start to get back to "normal," most of that stops. Unfortunately, that's when most of us are the most "lost!" You see, we've lost our focus - we no longer have to spend all our efforts fighting the cancer and enduring the treatments. Yet, we're not yet "normal" again. The effects of the treatments are insidious and long lasting. Depression may set in as we realize we still can't do all we used to do. We still get tired easily. Families are tired of us being "ill" and just want the regular routine back - believe me, no more than we do!

The chemo fatigue is the worst holdover - it's like a spiral that's tight at the beginning (during chemo) and then gradually enlarges. The problem is that we think we're doing great and "Wham!" we get clobbered by the fatigue and are down and out for a few days. The further we get from treatment, the farther apart the attacks, but we still need more rest and sleep than we did before the process began. We are really "sick and tired" of being sick and tired!

Some of the aches and pains that are side effects of chemo also linger - we may feel as if we've aged considerably over the past few months. But that, too, is "normal," as hard as it is to accept. We still have to get blood checks every few weeks, then months. Once we've had cancer, the fear of recurrence is always there, albeit hidden away in the recesses of our minds.

All of this is to ask you to have patience with us, to check in with us once in a while, to continue the encouragement, to understand that recovery is a process that can take six months to two years!

You have been such stalwart friends and prayer warriors and encouragers. You turned the "curse" of cancer into a rich blessing. May God grant each of you and your families a wonderful Holiday season!

Love & Hugs!


Click here to see a neat Christmas present that Deb got this year.

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© 2007 Deb Haggerty [ logo by iid ] [ site by blukid ]
Sometimes the urge to do something overwhelmingly fun and unexpected just seizes hold of Deb. Here she is at a party, planting a kiss on the cheek of surprised waiter who had complimented her just seconds before. This is Deb with Bonnie Ross Parker. Deb and Bonnie originally met online and quickly became good friends. She an example of the people, all over the country, who took on breast cancer walks and supported Deb in many ways. This is Deb with two good friends, Eva Marie Everson and Linda Evans Shepherd.