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Today marks the five year point of my initial diagnosis of breast cancer.

A lot has happened.

It was a stunning diagnosis, because despite warnings and hints, I honestly didn't recognize the danger. I'd had a fibrous cyst in that spot, it had been checked several times, there was no problem with it. So when the surgeon walked in and said, "You have cancer. We'll know more after some tests. I'll see you in two weeks," I was not exactly prepared.

There have been a lot of ups and downs along the way.

I won't lie, and tell you that I enjoyed this. Anyone who enjoys having cancer needs to have his or her skull pried open so the doctors can see if there are any brains left inside. I have post-herpetic neuralgia in my back, lymphedema in my dominant arm, and I am barred from donating blood, organs, or bone marrow. My stomach clenches the moment a doctor says, "hmmmm." Making sure that I have health insurance became a major issue when I went through a year of unemployment.

I've learned to admire the strength and determination of people who undergo not one cancer treatment, but four or five. I'm amazed at hearing about people who, upon being given a terminal diagnosis, spend their last remaining weeks making sure that their wills are written, that they spend time with loved ones, and who make plans to assure that their husband or wife will have a good future.

So many people have come through this board since I started it. Some didn't make it. Others saw people they loved live through the ravages of hell. But a few are still here, and are going to make it. Sometimes I don't have the words to explain what I want to say, but I hope you'll all realize that I've thought of you, and worried about you, and sat at my desk and cried for you.

In my second post on this board I said that I was starting on a journey. And that's quite true. I didn't realize it was a permanent journey, and that my life would never be quite the same. But that's what happened.

Several people here have been on the board throughout. Thank you for putting up with my moods and anger. I tried, very hard, not to feel sorry for myself. I don't know if I succeeded. Some of you had been on this trip before I started, and you offered me love and affection and encouragement. When I was shaking with terror at what lay before me, you told me what to expect, and let me know that this could be lived through. The comfort of the hugs you offered helped me relax and deal with what I needed to deal with.

Thank you. All of you. Those who helped me and became my friends, and those who shared your stories. Those who had greater knowledge, and could explain details, and those who could only offer comfort and caring, all added to this board. You all helped me through this.

Thank you. And I hope you'll all be around when I post my ten-year story.

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