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What Being a 49 1/2-Year-Old Breast Cancer Survivor Feels Like


I am 49 1/2 years old. Although I do not feel like I’m six months from 50 (because what does 50 feel like anyways?) I am beyond thrilled to be riding this damned decade.

Whoever said the 40s are the new 30s didn’t live in my 40-year-old body. And I’m really hoping that the 50s aren’t the new 40s because lord knows I do not want a repeat of this decade.

Because of the numerous surgeries and the obvious two-time party of breast cancer, my eyesight has worsened each year. I got more aches-more, pounds-more medications and more gray-more wrinkles and headaches — which I can blame on the tween boys living with me.

But the crappy decade gave me some wisdom as well. Lots actually.

I grew up.

I learned to speak out more and shy away less.

I learned I liked who I was as a grown up and I should surround myself with people I liked.

I learned even though there are times I screamed bloody murder at my children and felt I was doing an awful job, I wasn’t failing as a mother at all. My boys were loved and happy and all around pretty great kids.

I learned parabens don’t belong in beauty products — but that’s probably not the reason I got stuck with cancer.

I am  fairly secure with who I am. (Yet will probably always struggle with body image and looks, but that’s just me.)

I am more cynical. More sarcastic. More wise. More kind. More real. More worried.

I learned giving is better than getting. (Unless you are giving chocolate and the person shares.)

It’s ironic that the last year of my 40s gave me breast cancer because both have made me take a look through life through a different lens.

Sometimes I need the wide angle one. The one that needs me to take a look at the whole picture. To not focus on the trivial. To think, “Is what’s making me lose my s%!t going to matter to me in 48 hours?”

Sometimes I need to get close up. To use all my senses and breathe in the surrounding. That’s the zen in me and I love this new part.

Sometimes I want the selfie stick. I want to capture the moment.

Recovery is slow and I’m quite sore and tired.

Last night, DH and the boys and I sat on my bed and played a mean game of UNO. (Not just UNO, but UNO SPIN which, some of you may know, can get quite competitive!)

As crappy as a week that I had, as crappy as a year that I had, this game and that moment, was my everything.

This post was originally published on Eat the Frosting First.

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Thinkstock photo by ddolak