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!
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.
No, 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.
As 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!
Today is a Happy Anniversary for me, the 2 year mark since I underwent the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, a life changing day for me. I thank god that I had the strength to make such a decision. The year prior to the surgery was filled with doctors appointments, scans and blood work. The years prior to that were filled with biopsies and worry. Since I also had the DIEP flap procedure done at the same time, my surgery took over 14 hours and I spent 7 days in the hospital. The entire process took a total of three surgeries and several months to fully recover. I would say that it took about a year before I felt normal. I had numbness in my abdomen for a long time which was actually welcome after much pain.
I remember finally being released from the surgeons care many months after the BPM, walking to my car thinking both “wow” and “now what”? Strange right? Doctors became such a normal part of my life for so long that it was strange thinking about life after. For so long my entire life was associated with my “procedure” it became part of my identity.
I can not believe it has been two years since the surgery. I have not posted much over the last few months. I started this blog as a way to help me keep my thoughts straight as I prepared for and recovered from major surgery. As time has gone on I am not as sure as to what this will become. I have recently entered a political race for our local town council. I know that I do not want this sounding board to become anything political which is part of why I have stayed off of the pages. I also think there are already too many people posting about the day-to-day life of their children. For the moment I will stay in the background posting from time to time.
Things that I learned through the process, never look back! Make a decision and only look forward, trust in yourself that you made the right decision. Especially with my pathology findings of lobular carcinoma in situ, had I waited another year or two….I can’t think about it and thankfully I did not! Sadly, I also learned that many of the people who I loved and counted on were not there for me or my family when we needed them most. A hurtful reality but one that we have accepted. I no longer waste my time trying to keep our circle any larger than those who truly want to be a part of it.
I enjoy my family more than ever before. There are some who do not understand and to be honest I do not spend too much time explaining myself. I hug my children tightly and kiss them everyday. I enjoy every minute I have with my family and I never pass up an opportunity to tell them how much I love them. To all of the women out there, get you mammograms regularly, talk with your doctor and never be afraid to ask questions!