So all my posts start with "I can't believe it's been xx months since I sat down to write". This one is no different...yup it's been awhile - but it's time for me to write this one so here goes.
There are dates in your life that define you; they are ingrained on your heart and are dates you will never forget. They are days that alter your course - and force you to grow and re-think who you are. These are a few of my most life-altering ones:
July 24 - the day I got married; the day that my best friend and I promised to stay together through thick and thin, through sickness and health
October 24 - the day my heart beat outside my body for the first time - the day I became a mom
May 28 - the day I knew what it felt like to have my heart grow another size - the day our family became complete with a second little one
This year I added another date to that list. November 8 - the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Oof...first time I've put that in writing. It's hard to say out loud - even harder to write down. And now that I've written it down, I almost feel like I should stop writing. What else do I say? I can tell you it was hard, but that word isn't strong enough. It was like someone punched me in the gut. I was in my mid-forties and healthy - this didn't happen to my family. I was surreal for a long time, but I will tell you it got real pretty fast.
Telling my family and close friends was hard. To be honest I did most of the telling by text. May sound like a cop out, but I couldn't bring myself to say it out loud that many times. Telling my girls - well that was gut wrenching. I was supposed to be the one to keep order in their world so they could deal with growing up - and sitting down to tell them was going to blow up their world. I hated that I would be responsible for altering their world in this way, but no way I could keep it from them. Ulisses and I sat them down and gave them the news. In that moment, I saw the type of children I was raising - compassionate, resilient, amazing. There were tears and questions - then they asked what I needed them to do. They asked how they could make things easier; they asked if I needed a hug. I honestly could not have been more proud of them than I was in that moment.
After November 8th, the onslaught of appointments and waiting started. For those who know me, patience is not my forte...the waiting was the hardest part. I just wanted to know what was next so I could deal with it and move on. What made it harder, is every time I thought we had a plan, another test revealed we would need to change the plan. How the hell was I supposed to wrap my head around what needed to be done if it kept changing? That became the hardest part. And believe me there was a lot of swearing during that time - thankful my circle isn't offended by a well placed f-bomb LOL
But I learned to go with the flow (sort of) and trust the amazing doctors and nurses that I had access to. We put together stage one of my treatment plan, and now I'm waiting (again) for results that will determine if there is a stage two of treatment. Oddly enough, I'm not as worried about what's next, and here is why.
I have always known how lucky I am to be surrounded by family and a circle of friends who were supportive. We have helped each other through life in a number of ways. But this situation has shown me how truly blessed I am. In fact I have never felt more blessed. Odd to say when I'm in the throws of dealing with cancer, but the circle that has surrounded me during this has made having to deal with it somewhat bearable. Don't get me wrong...I would rather not have to deal with it at all...but given the hand I've been dealt, I'm happy with those I have standing with me as I get through it. To all of you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I need to take a minute to acknowledge hubby. On July 24th, he made a vow to stick with me through sickness and health, but neither one of us could have imagined that this is what lay in front of us. Without him, none of this would have been ok. He hugged me when I was melting down, he held my hand when I was scared about what was next, and he told me I was being ridiculous when I let the crazy get the best of me. He has kept this family running while I am recovering from surgery, and he continues to remind me that this is just a bump in the road...and that together we will deal with whatever life throws at us. What more could I ask for? (oh he also painted our family room, refinished the fireplace and wall mounted a TV - he is my hero)
I am lucky...my diagnosis could have been so much worse. I can't imagine those out there who get this news, but discover it is not treatable. It must be devastating, and I am grateful that I did not fall into that category. Mine is treatable, and I will come out the other side stronger than ever.
Now for my soapbox - ladies please do not skip your mammograms. In fact, ask your doctor if you should have an ultrasound with your mammogram - in my case, the ultrasound is what triggered the biopsy. You will see pink ribbons show up in my social media feed more frequently, and October will have a renewed meaning for me in terms of raising awareness. And you will see my new slogan everywhere - Fight like a Girl. It may even become my next tattoo :-)
I haven't decided yet if I will blog more about this journey - this post has been rolling around in my head for awhile, so I know I needed to write it down. There will probably be more - I just don't promise how frequent.