one year ago today….

my sweet son sleeps and gives me the time to reflect.

June began with a cloud (of course) in the great northwest, but it not only rains to keep the ferns green, the clouds have opened the tears to my memories.  It is not with serious melancholy that I write this passage though, for in the end the experiences occurred as they should and laid the groundwork for clarity, calmness, and a clear heart.  I had always been working towards those, but bumps in the road usually bring us back to what we try to change. Not anymore in the rainy state I am residing.

So, it was one year ago today as I drove home from work, my cell phone rang, and the nurse asked me if I had the time to speak.  I said sure, I am driving home. She said, no sweetie, you need to pull over or call me back.  My heart sank and I said well…I am sure now that I know what you will tell me.  I crossed the bridge and found a spot to stop the car, she wouldn’t continue unless I did so.  She told me the biopsy came back showing two forms of breast cancer and that I needed to come in to speak with a surgeon ASAP. She said a lot more but my mind kept saying…seriously, after all the shit I had been enduring, the Gods, truly must be crazy. I told her that I was four days late with my period and she told me to get a pregnancy test as they would need all of the information tomorrow at the appointment. I knew then that the Gods were indeed crazy.  You see, for a year and half I said, well…let’s just leave it up to the Gods to see if we get pregnant. No watching the calendar or stressing it…let it just be. Interesting the way life works.

I called my husband to brace him for my arrival home and the news. I arrived home to him in tears, me in tears and the pregnancy test unwrapped and ready. There it was, I was to be the 1 in 3000 women to be pregnant and have breast cancer.  The rest of the emotions I have been journaling about here in other posts, so I will side step those for now. 

It was a swift and quick procedure, consulting with surgeons, oncologists, and a dear friend’s mom who had been a nurse for 30 years. It was her words that really set my calm and positivity in motion. She imparted to me that I had no choice but to decide things would have the best outcome possible. There is a chemical that kicks in when you get into fight mode, so fight for you and the baby, she kept saying. She also advised me to just get the mastectomy, and not bother with the lump removal.  It would have been impossible to keep the baby without having the breast removed. It was a very easy decision. I accessed the few years of my kung fu and karate teachings, called the accupuncturist, and had a conversation with myself and close girlfriends to get rid of the shit, the negativity. I got into fight mode the best way that I knew from the philosophies I had learned from past experiences. This fight is to be a calm one, to protect, not to attack in anger.

The surgery occurred within a few weeks, breast removed…healing commenced with the divine help of a loving husband, beautiful friends and family, and the world cup. I spent every morning watching each match and forgot about the emotions. No wonder my little boy kicked me like Maredona for months, and one time so hard he arrived a month early!

The results were “the best possible results they (my doctor’s office) had seen in years” she said they actually had the entire office cheering as they knew my youth, my pregnancy needed this kind of result. No chemo, no drugs! My decision to have the mastectomy was my “treatment”.  I still have these bouts of fear that this may change after breastfeeding. So far so good, every three months two different doctors check my booby, and nothing…

I will continue with my sweet boy’s calm, my family and friends beauty, my accupuncture, philosphies, and the love of soccer to keep me fighting for a healthy body.

Check your boobies ladies………

a mother’s day reflection

As Mother’s Day just passed and this weekend will be a year since I found the lump in my right breast, my memory of receiving the news of my diagnosis of having breast cancer and the news of my pregnancy on the same day, has been alighted.  Along, with breaking the news to my own mother, a heartache in itself.   The idea that I found out that I was pregnant within hours of hearing my diagnosis made me angry. Angry that it was me, the healthiest girl I know, gets breast cancer, me, a girl who had a mountain to climb already that past year, and me…who had been off birth control for a year plus gets to be pregnant while going through such heartache. It all made me angry. In fact, when I came out of the bathroom after the home test was taken, the first uttered words were: “and I’m fucking pregnant too”.

It was not that I didn’t want to have a child and be pregnant, but that I had to do it this way.  I sat in anger over this for maybe a day or three until the calm and peace of that child growing inside of me took over. My sweet boy carried me to a place of calmness about the whole shit storm that my life had become. I had this ‘out of body’ experience of simply knowing things would be okay with the breast, and keeping a mantra in my heart that this baby would be okay.  I felt as if it was my only chance for a child, given the unknown of the cancer, and the heartache of the year prior with countless obstacles in my way of building upon our family.  I had to be at peace with this because that is all I had…a child growing within.  I had to keep him safe, clutched to my heart, safe in the womb, but really I think he kept his mamma safe.  I feel it in his energy.  What a loving and calm soul he has, along with some swift feistyness. He is my heart and I thank him for deciding to become our baby that same weekend that I found the lump.  In the end his timing was perfect.  Happy Mother’s Day to me, one boob and all…it is enough to feed him and that is all that matters, life definitely gives you what you need.

some days….

(this was written back in October, 2010)
….some are better days than others. I am fine, truly. I really, compared to rest of the young women with breast cancer, have nothing to worry about. I am cancer free, and had been spared the horrors of chemo and radiation and the like, because of due diligence, or plain luck. and yet, some days are simply difficult.I try to get dressed, and though feel so blessed to have a growing baby inside, I have double the wardrobe complications. Vain, okay, fine it is, but I am tired of wearing baggy shirts and baggy jeans looking like a lazy sorority girl at finals week. And well, not a lot of compassion around me, I just get the “it’s okay” or “just get a chicken cutlet!”

Seriously. A chicken cutlet? Who came up with that term anyhow? Firstly, the missing boob area still feels like shit most days, though I pretend it doesn’t, it does. Secondly, I am not putting anything next to my body that is called a chicken cutlet. This is a sacred area. The least they could do is name the prosthetics something a little less…well… raw. The area is raw, the sensitivities areraw and some days I just want to wear a fitted shirt and skinny jeans. I used to look and feel pretty for myself, my husband. Now, well this is all together different today.So it goes…I have my health, I have a child growing within, and most importantly I am surrounded by love. Back in my body, after months of stepping outside of myself in order to deal with the mountains of emotions, I have returned to discover I am restless within my own skin. Showering is harder, love is at an arm’s length and life is pushing me forward when I am unready, unsteady and hadn’t had the chance to grieve the losses that have befallen on me with the diagnosis’ of the past year. The world wants me happy, they want to talk about the pregnancy all of the time, as I do on many an occasion, yet, it is the other occasions that seem to say tough shit, it is over and you are healthy let’s move forward…those are difficult. I am there, moving forward, but at times, there are steps backwards. Today is one of those backwards days.