It is a beautiful day today! I am definitely one of those people who’s mood is affected by weather. Yesterday we were at the park for the opening day parade and it was cold! Very overcast and cloudy but thankfully the rain held off til late.
A good time was had by all at the park but of course it just would not be a family event without someone getting sick. Madison woke up with all signs of sinus/ear infection. SHe was so excited about the parade I had to let her go and march but as soon as the actual parade was over we separated from Frank and Meg and went to the doctor.
So I recently find myself wondering if I am supposed to tell everyone that I am about to have surgery. As I stand at the bus stop in the morning with neighbors and we chit-chat about this and that. Am I supposed to drop in there a hey by the way I am having a mastectomy? Or just disappear one day for a little bit? Possible to get through without some people even noticing or do the after explanation. I almost want to make up business cards with the blog address and just say read this because I prefer not to talk about it. I do not mind blogging about it at all but when you discuss it with people they get that look…it just gets exhausting.
Today I am thankful for Madison feeling better and bright shinning sun! Looking forward to a great day with my family.
I am sitting here watching City Slickers. I just mentioned it the other day and in flipping channels to find something to watch, I find it. Seemed too coincidental so I just had to watch!
Kids already in bed active karate class tonight for them and very busy day tomorrow. Opening day for softball at the park. Parade, pictures and BBQ. For Megan it is old hat but this is the first year for Madison so pure excitement.
I am going to sit and enjoy my movie but wanted to keep my list going.
Today I am grateful for:
- the birds that chirped happily in the yard
- The pool cover removal setting up months of swimming fun for the family
- the look of pure excitement on Madi’s face thinking about the parade tomorrow
- Hearing “I love you mommy” as I put the girls to bed…..I love this one so will be a continual theme I bet .
I have been wandering around trying to pass time until the surgery (I actually counted 67 days ugh!) For the last few days I have allowed “victim” thoughts to crowd my head. This is not like me..I have never been a victim nor will I ever be! I am not sick. I decided that the more I allow myself to get bogged down in my own thoughts, the more down I feel.
So time to snap out of it..or at least do some things to try. Instead of thoughts of mastectomy, surgery and recovery I think it is time to take a look at what is right in front of me and be grateful!
Today I am grateful for :
- Both of my girls having a great day at school
- Being on the field to see my baby play in her second softball game…and being there to kiss her boo-boo when she fell down
- The extra hugs before bed from both
- Hearing “I love you mommy”!
May not seem like much but to me the world! I guess sometimes it is good to remind yourself…all in all good day!
I am very unfocused. Could not sleep last night or for several nights before that. Since I was younger I would have these long periods of sleeplessness. Won’t call it insomnia because I do eventually doze off.
What is keeping me awake?
I guess we can start with the obvious and the fact that I am about to lop off a portion of my body that I have had since my teen years…much larger and more complicated of course since my kids were born.
But that is not it. I have a beautiful 3-year-old Labrador retriever who has already had one knee surgery. She walks with a terrible limp sometimes unable to get up from a laying position. We are faced with the reality that she has further knee and hip issues. There is only so much money for medical needs in this family. She is now on pain pills 2 times a day but things do not look good.
So..dramatic subject change takes me next to a meeting we had last night. I am no Al Gore but am trying to make better energy decisions. When we replaced our heater we went with a 95% efficient one for a few extra dollars. So last night we had a meeting with some solar folks. WOW…I really had no clue. A massive (and I mean massive) initial payout of cash will result in just a 25% reduction in our electric bill. No more govt programs because they realize they flooded the market….so when I laugh uncontrollably I am supposed to feel guilty as I plug my laptop in right?
Then again back to the surgery, been thinking about the after surgery things. Getting myself prepared. Waking up in Intensive care unable to see my girls. The first time I will look in the mirror after mastectomy. Showering with the drains…living with the drains. Swelling and pain ugh. Having to put a bra on at some point. Patience is not a virtue I tend to exhibit, how long before I can be fully up and around?
And just as disjointed as this all reads is how it swirls around in my head.
When I first started posting some ramblings on here, I never really thought anyone would read it. It was more for me I guess to clear my own thoughts. Then some friends and family took a look. Now I realize that people outside of my own small world have taken a peek yet I have really never introduced myself, well, other than the whole mastectomy high risk thing that is.
So here we go.
My name is Christine and I live in New Jersey. I am 40 years old and have lived in fear of developing breast cancer for years. I have 2 beautiful daughters and a husband that I love very much. Our anniversary is right around the corner, a month before the surgery so we should go out for a ridiculously expensive dinner.
Those around me would probably describe me as stubborn and intense but usually fair. Also, passionate and caring but will not be taken advantage of or pushed around.
I used to smile and laugh much more than I do now. For years I have tried to make everyone happy but am coming to realize that is part of the “smile” issue. I am now thinking about the movie “City Slickers“…I need to find my smile.
I consider myself to be a strong person but after my kids were born would find myself crying at mushy shows, movies and even commercials that never would have had that effect on me prior to their births. I can’t dance, sing, draw or play an instrument yet my girls find me to be the most creative person alive.
I am the fixer or things, taker of pictures and keeper of memories. (we go through a lot of glue). I am a coach of many sports, driver of the mommy taxi and chef.
One of the biggest challenges I faced over the last few years, outside of this whole mastectomy thing, was the conversion of district manager at a large retailer to stay at home mom. At one time, hundreds of people had to listen to what I said and in the blink of an eye I had children who dared to say “no”.
I consider spell check to be one of the greatest inventions ever since I can not spell worth a damn!
I was raised Catholic, went to 12 years of Catholic school and although for the most part non-practicing I still suffer from massive Catholic guilt.
I love my family with all of my heart and for the most part do not let others opinions derail me.
And after reading the last few line realize I like the phrase ” for the most part”. I start sentences with the word “So” very often and am sure that english professors everywhere would have a field day with a red pen on my writings.
Lastly…I long for the day that I do not look in the mirror and see the person who is agonizingly waiting, counting the minutes until the mastectomy is over.
Oh..and thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts…I appreciate it!
Another week begins and the gap between me and the surgery closes. Still way to far away to do a count down. I spoke to a long-lost friend yesterday. We have know each other since we were kids roughly 25+ years and have been through a lot of both good and bad times. We all know how things happen you forget to call, then get busy maybe get mad that your forgot to call and got too busy and the next thing you know close to 2 years have past. I did not want anymore time to pass! It is always amazing though, no matter how long it has been you can still talk as if it was just yesterday. It was great to reconnect and I will not forget to call next time!
I have a check list of sorts in my head to run through before the surgery. Like I mentioned in keeping busy with the scrapbooks, I have a few project to wrap up etc. I want to go into the hospital knowing that my family is taken care of and have little to stress about. In my heart I know I will be fine and will only be away a few days but…there is always a but and always a possibility . I have some wonderful friends who have offered to help Frank with the kids or who have asked what they like to eat so that there can be meal prepared for them. I appreciate them all!
Some days I look at the clock and wish I could use one of the many magic wands that we have in the toy box and speed up time. Then again this “waiting” has made me more appreciative of everything around me. I enjoy watching the kids at activities just a bit more and the popcorn during yesterdays movie was awesome. I guess it is all about perspective.
In another post I said I was trying to stay busy but today I have nothing but movies with the girls on the agenda and totally look forward to it! All week we have been running here and there. Softball games and karate for both of the girls, piano lesson with Megan followed by soccer practice to get ready for travel team try-outs. It was so sunny yesterday sitting out there, my face is so sunburned! Why am I always so careful to lotion the kids but never myself? Not good!
I have noticed that my patience for certain things is growing short. Stuff that maybe used to annoy me a little now infuriates me. I have never been one who has enjoyed much drama but now it seems so much worse. I totally do not want to be near it! The girls bickering sounds like nails on a blackboard to me. It is like my head is so full I can’t take anymore in. I find myself just zoning out sometimes not hearing anything around me. I feel like everyone/thing is pulling on me and I just want to scream ENOUGH! What about me?
I am so glad that I started this blog. Since I was given my “options” (Meeting with the cancer specialist) I have met many strong women. I am following a woman who was in a very similar situation as myself and is now more than a month out of surgery and doing great! I am also following women who are fighting cancer, my heart and prayers go out to all of them! When I was given the options, I was in an office with two doctors and my husband yet I felt like I was alone in a tunnel. Reading the stories of these wonderful women is helpful to me as I prepare for my own surgery.
Although I am 100% fully at peace with my decision to have the mastectomy, I still feel like some people look at me like I am crazy. Why cut into a perfectly healthy body? One thing the blog has made me realize is that I am now part of a new “family” of sorts. Like a real family, you do not ask nor do you have a choice to be a part of it one day you are just there. It is a family of women who are either fighting or are so high risk are doing everything they can to avoid breast cancer. This family has no racial or religious bias. It does not look at background or political leanings.
Thank you to all of my new friends for your strength and sharing your stories.
A day does not pass that I do not think about my mother. That’s us..I was only a few months old there. To me, she is a wonderful woman. For the purposes of our conversation here, mine is the only opinion that matters. Hind sight is 20-20. She was not perfect as I am sure my own daughters will remind me of often as they grow. I find it hard to judge when I fortunately did not have to walk in her shoes. As a parent, I also understand much more that I did years ago. I have a great life! I am able to be home with my children. I see them off to school and get them from the bus. I am a part of everything and have a partner in my husband to help in every step. I can not even imagine raising 3 children totally alone. She was a single mother who worked very hard to ensure my sister, brother and myself would be better off than she was, and for that I thank her with all of my heart!
She never got to meet any of her grandchildren. For my girls they have never had the opportunity to meet any grandparents since Franks mother also had breast cancer and his father died of a heart attack when he was in college. My father is alive somewhere but that would be and entirely different blog.
I always had a special relationship with my mother. It was not always easy to live with her but I did until I got married at age 25. I went away for college but came home every few weekends and for holidays and summers. Once I graduated I again returned to my single bed in the little ranch home in Blackwood. I never had a thought of anything else.
She was diagnosed when I was in college. I remember standing in my dorm room as she told me the news. I was numb. She had a mastectomy followed by radiation. There was not chemotherapy. It was offered but the odds given with or without it were so similar that she opted against it. Instead she was given Tamoxifen. Several year later it metastasized into her bones. She required a hip replacement. Because of the cancer it was a big surgery removing bone deep into her pelvis. After the rehab center when she came home she was not very motivated to do the work necessary to get free of the walker. At the time I was engaged to be married. I asked if she would walk me down the aisle. She was so happy! She cried, hugged me and said of course. Then I laid out the terms…she had to be able to walk on her own..no walkers no cane! It was hard but she did it! She had to hold my arm but proudly we walked down the aisle.
The last two years of her life were filled with radiation appointments and blood transfusions. The last year added hospital stays. The night she passed I had actually just gotten home from work. I got the call after 11pm..I had an inventory that night and was just in the process of changing clothes. I raced over to the house. She still laid in her bed, at peace. She was scheduled for another blood transfusion in the morning. I remember speaking to her earlier in the day and her concern that they might want to put her back in the hospital. She said she did not want that because if they did she felt she would never again leave.
I have always told myself that she went to bed that night and had just had enough. Now here I stand with the chance to avoid her past in my future and I grab it with both hands.