Well, today marks one year since my breast canSer diagosis. I won't tell the story of the day. Not today. Maybe not ever, at least not here. When I turned 39 (I was diagnosed at 38), my Mother wrote me a beautiful birthday poem. Part of it said, "Get fiesty. Like your Grandma." Gram died a couple of days before my last chemo, September 2007. I think of her daily and talk to her often.
This post may be long, so read if you dare or have that time on your hands.
I've learned a few things over the past year. I have learned:
1. Time wounds all heals. (John Lennon)
2. Samuel is the most perfect name
3. Suffering never leaves you where it found you.
4. There is no call for perfection; no need to do everything right.
5. Illness is a right of passage. It is a chance to find what is lost or what is meant to be found.
6. God is my ground.
7. Angels exist.
8 Laughter over fear. (Mary Ellen Sarafrolean)
9. I am not a statistic.
10. Maybe it's just enough to get in the car and drive.
Do you think David Letterman would like my top ten? : )
Oh, I have an 11. "If you want a crytal ball, call a psychic!" (B. Savage)
OK, well truth be told I could go on and on with what I have learned. So, let's turn to other truths. My breasts are gone. They served me well. They made me a woman: they fed my children, they were great. I miss them dearly. I miss wearing a bra. It is true. I miss cleavage and tatoo options. But, even though they worked hard for me, they were dangerous. Without them I am safer.
I lost my hair. All of it. Not just the stuff on my head. My eyebrows (I love my eyebrows), my eyelashes, etc. Yeah, it grew back - even the stuff on my legs. I'll never forget Dan shaving my head in the middle of the day in early Sept on the screen porch. It blew away in the wind. My Dad shaved it bald a few weeks later too! And, I'll never forget when I got in the shower a few months later and realized I needed to shave my legs. I said to Dan, "Don't let me forget how happy I am that I have to shave my legs!"
There are so many things that have brought me into this NEW year: Needles - lots of them. music. fear. "My babies". Insomniaaaaaaa! Early onset menopause. Early onset ARTHRITIS. Size 8. Regions Hospital. Pills, pills, pills, pills, pills. Gram. Tim's teary eyes. Dan's teary eyes. Holding hands with Sally at Gram's funeral. The MRI result room. Donna Moyer. Sadie Rose. Mary Ellen. Denise's phone call. Leslie's presence. Tam. Judi. B9. NED. EM. Cornie beach. Nate. Paul's toast. Cheryl and Tom. Jim, Arleen, Shawn and Stephen. Dad shaving his head and wearing my wig (he looked pretty good!). Ma attending "chemo class" with me. The "Airport" movies with Bill. Wendy. Lynda. Barbara B. BeBerns.
So, "it was a dark and stormy night..." That line worked for Snoopy, over, and over, and over again. I'm not sure if he ever got past that sentence, but he still tried. And tried, and tried. When he wasn't writing he was the Red Barron. With his feet against the roof of his dog house, holding tight, goggles, hat, the "rat-tat-tat" around him, and the forces coming down around him - he continued to fight.
So, that is what I will do. Continue to try. Continue to fight. Just like Snoopy. I'll put one foot in front of the other. I'll work toward happiness. I'll be a good mother and a good friend. Gram wouldn't have it any other way.