Pink reminder, get your mammogram

 

October, the world a wash in pink everywhere you look, corporations cashing in on the cancer struggle of millions of women.  I had no intention of posting anything this month, I don’t post much these days.  My mind was changed after receiving the news that another friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her journey begins, so many lives affected.

The questions from my own daughters are now deeper.   Four years is a long time in the life of a child, they remember my surgery but did they really understand?  Last night my little one, now 9, asked if I could ever get “that cancer” since I had the BPM.  For me, the much more important question is how high of a risk my beautiful daughters have and how do we handle those risks as they grow.  The only answer I can find right now, control what you can.  When was your last mammogram?  If you don’t remember pick up the phone and call for an appointment today!    Talk to every women in your life and remind them to do the same.  If you like pink that’s great but keep in mind that if millions were not being made by every company making or wearing all of that pink, it would not be happening.  Instead use the pink as a reminder, get your screening!

“An ounce of prevention is worth  a pound of cure”- Benjamin Franklin

There of course is no cure for cancer but the studies are very clear, the earlier breast cancer is found the better the chance treatment will be successful.  Call for your mammogram today!

Joy and Sadness; a Partnership

The other night the girls and I watched the Disney movie Inside Out.  We had seen it in the movies and enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it just as much the second time.   If you have not seen it the premise is a young girl forced to move due to her fathers new job and the five emotions that lead her, joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear.

Multiple times throughout the movie I told my oldest daughter that the “sadness” character was my favorite.  When asked why (other than how cute the character is,) I explained that throughout life you can only enjoy true joy because of real sadness.  Life is full of highs and lows, many stormy moments that in my mind are all there to remind you that when you have the happy moments, true joy, you should wrap your arms around it and cherish the moments.   How much of our lives are just a bunch of mixed moments, sadness, anger and fear leading to moments of great joy.The moment I was rushed down the hallway of a hospital for and emergency C-section because Madison’s heart rate had dropped.  So scared, tears streaming down my face.  Hours later the wonderful joy of holding my beautiful, healthy baby.  So many moments before my BPM surgery and during the healing process all leading to a sense of peace and health allowing me to focus on what is important in life.

Sadness, an emotion that surrounded so much of my life growing up has once again been able to creep into my life.  It started as a sadness of the loss of a few once important relationships.  This sadness has now turned more to one of lamenting  that you can not control others actions no matter how much you bend.  Some are not happy unless they make everyone miserable around them. Joy for some is seeing sadness in others.

Clearly you should not surround yourself with people who make you feel bad.  Of course, life is never that easy.  A decision that seems so clear and easy has ripple effects often creating a whirlwind of confusion, hurt feelings and the ever so popular, politically correct, “I don’t want to get involved.”  Sometimes you have to bite your lip and sometimes, well you just have to cut ties and move on.  I guess the most important thing is knowing which is which.

Allowing the negative to fade away

You’re going to go through tough times-that’s life. Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.  See the positive in negative events.  Joel Osteen

In July of 2012 I had a life changing experience.  Body altering surgery, pain both physical and mental and at times feelings of pure helplessness.  Over time, those feelings became ones of freedom.  Receiving the news that my post BPM biopsy was positive for lobular carcinoma in situ at first set me into a pure panic.  I remember the doctors call, feeling as if the room around me was closing in and the tears rolling down my cheeks.  Then the realization, I made the right decision.  Years of biopsies and worries of cancer were over.

From then on I have really seen things differently.  I refuse to allow the negative things in life to control my day.  Sure, I have moments but as a rule I am trying to live more of a “glass is half full” kind of life.  For years I often found myself in the middle of others drama or tried to mediate others dilemmas.  Recently, I have had to remind myself of what I realized almost 3 years ago, life is too short to be surrounded in negativity.

Not only is it too short but life moves way too fast!  It seems like just yesterday that my girls were born  and today I watched Madison perform on stage at her first talent show.  Megan attended her first dance the other night and both are growing into such beautiful girls.  Allowing myself to live in anyone else’s negativity removes my focus on what is important in life.  I will no longer feel guilty for allowing myself to focus on the positive things, I will not apologize for looking for the sun instead of the rain and I will not ask permission to smile.  I WILL surround myself and my family with others who feel the same!

I am not ready, but here we go!

I am not ready! The other night I attended the middle school orientation for the parents of incoming sixth graders at one of the local middle schools.  The school itself is beautiful and huge.  It was a bit intimidating to me.  The high school I attended was tiny in comparison. It scares me a little to think of my baby walking the halls in September.  In my mind, she is still the little baby who loved to be held and cuddled.  Of course she is no longer that baby, she is a beautiful, intelligent, strong and confident young girl who is not only ready for the next stage but excited for it to come.

keep-calm-i-m-not-ready-yet-1The process of our 6 elementary schools folding into 3 middle schools is actually a very well planned out chain of events that started a few weeks ago.  A counselor visited the elementary school and talked to the kids followed a week later by the kids boarding a bus for a tour of their soon to be new school.  Last week, the parents met with the Principal and in August there is a several day program in which the kids get used to the school, lockers and all of the wonderfully High School like world that our Middle school will provide.

When I went to school (way back when) I went to the same building for 8 years.  There are more kids in the elementary school that Meg attends that were in my entire school and the middle school has almost 200 more kids that.  I am finding myself a bit overwhelmed but like I stated earlier Megan is so excited.  She has already been studying the list of clubs and is putting thought into how to decorate her locker.  I am not ready!

Every night before I go to bed, I look in on the girls and stand for a minute and watch them sleep.  Often I kiss a cheek or the top of a head and smile.  I think of just how proud of them I am.  I can not imagine a life without my girls, my family.  Lately, when looking at Megan I wonder when it happened.  When did that shy, timid little girl become the young lady who is about to become a middle schooler and test for her black belt in karate.  It all happens too fast.

lunchbox noteSo here we sit ready to embark on another first, another new adventure.  I will be there to celebrate the wins and to dry the tears.  I will hide my unease because this is part of life, the necessary part where mommy can not control everything, the part where my little girl must take steps to build her future.  I may not be ready but my wonderful, brilliant beautiful daughter is so I will kick and scream,(quietly behind a door)  and probably shed a tear or two but away we go. Ready or not, I will be with you every step of the way!

Striking the perfect balance, hopefully at least sometimes!?

When I was younger I swore I would never have children.  They were dirty, needy and would just get in the way.  I had visions of being the CEO of IBM.  As with most of us, the visions of a young person grow and change as we do.

Newborn Megan 8/11/2004
Newborn Megan 8/11/2004

I did well in my career but something was missing. I remember when I held my Megan for the first time, her wide open bright eyes looking up at me, I swear she actually waved.  That was it. That was all I needed to know that there was no job in the world that could ever be as fulfilling as staying with my baby.  I have been fortunate enough to be a part of every aspect of my girls development.  Financially it has not always been easy but it has been the most rewarding job ever!

Being a Mother has been an adventure, figuring it out day by day.  Frank and I don’t have any parental guidance and I never had the perfect role model.  My relationship with my mother was not perfect, whose is?  At the time it was all I knew.  Some will say she was a difficult person and I would agree.  She was a functioning alcoholic and in those days this was acceptable.  She had a temper and was not what anyone would call “warm and fuzzy”.  There were not many hugs or “I love you’s” in our house.   With that said, she raised three children alone, kept a nice home for us against all odds and ensured that we had the best education possible to enable all three of us to improve our own lives.  I am blessed to have had such a strong woman as a mother.

IMGAs I raise my own children I struggle to find the right balance.  Many of their friends are handed everything with no understanding of the value attached to the items.  Too many parents would rather be a friend than parent.  I never want to have the heavy hand I was raised with yet I want to ensure there is structure and discipline, but discipline filled with love.  Yes there is such a thing.  The ability to say “no” to your children, to realize that they may get mad at you and life will go on.

Being a parent is not always easy, as a matter of fact uneasy is how I feel much of the time.  So many firsts in life that need to be explained.  Hurt feelings, confusion and the unknown are all a part of everyday life and I love it!  Each day is an adventure and I look forward to  every one of them!

Perseverance, unicorns and just a little pixie dust

Life is messy, and hard and sometimes downright  mean.  I would like to be able to tell my kids that it is filled with unicorns and roses but that would be silly, untrue and would not prepare them for the reality of the future.  I would like to tell them that they can just shut the door until the hard stuff is over but that would just make them victims to the evils that would eventually consume them.  I would like to tell them that they could close their eyes and wish it all away but in my opinion that would ensure them a future of failure.

unicorn-11273No, I tell my girls the truth.  The cold, hard and often ugly truth.  Life is unfair, hard and dirty at times and often it will disappoint you.  With that truth comes the real lesson, a lesson of perseverance that those who keep their heads up, those who work hard, those who strap in for the rough ride will succeed in the end and be the stronger for it!  My girls have lived this lesson from early ages.  I am sure they feel that their lives have been often unfair to this point, Madison being witness to my miscarriage, major health scares for both of their parents and more hospital visits than any child should have to endure.  They have seen their father work non stop only to have his pay cut and eventually be laid off by the same company.   I am fully aware that our lives are a paradise when compared to others.  We all have our struggles, how you deal with them makes us who we are.

I try to teach the girls that when life gets tough to face it and never give up.  I hope that my husband and I have modeled this same lesson for them.  There is often an easier way but it does not make it right.  Never run and never bury your head in the sand. Do not be afraid to try, to  fail, but NEVER stop trying, learn and grow and always keep smiling.

29a8d7a59eec706135ac1eb9fe9e26d1As meaningful as those lesson are, it is also important, more important  to celebrate the wins, the glass is half full side of things.  The fact that my girls are healthy and smart, athletic and kind.  The fact that after a tough search my husband has found a wonderful new job. From time to time, it is nice to live in a world of unicorns and when life is on an upswing you grab on with both hands!  How do you best celebrate the positive turn in events?  With a trip to Disney World of course!  Very soon we will be off to see that amazing Mouse!  For our family Disney is that place where you get to close your eyes and wish it away, that world where fantasy is reality and pixie dust rules the land!  I can not wait….Mickey we will be there soon!

2013 Magic!
2013 Magic!