In the last month I had toyed with the idea of sharing some of the “mission statement/status update” emails I sent out en masse during breast cancer treatment. These emails served to keep people up to date on my treatment, to offer gratitude, to let them know where my head was, and respond to offers about what they could do to help. In hindsight, I think it allowed me a platform to state who I was, just in case….so people would always remember what I was about and how I handled cancer. The entry below was written in December 2005 just days after I was diagnosed, as I approached my first oncology visit. I vividly remember getting out of bed that morning, after 3 days of being balled up crying, with the sense of laser clarity; it all came together in my head and I knew what I wanted to say and how I was going to do cancer. I remember as if it was yesterday sitting at my then desktop computer on a cold, cold December morning, with a tiny 7 year old child wrapped in a blanket on the floor beside me as I wrote.
God always gives you what you need to get by. Suffice it to say I have had a very difficult, very tough week on many levels. Similar to when I was diagnosed, I have found myself balled up and tangled, trying to figure out how in the hell to pull myself together and get on with it. When the world overwhelms me, I go into this very quiet, very still place for a few days. and I have difficulty talking. With words being how I convey how I feel, it follows that when I don’t know how I feel, I simply have nothing to say. I fretted all week long about how to get my blog written in this place where my words stop, but when I dug out this old email something magical happened. I found that the note itself became the answer to all that ailed me. Like a deep breath pulled in slowly over the course of days, I rallied. Life does knock us down, and in the end what matters is not how long we were down, but that we get back up. And that we remember who we are and what we are about in the process.
After five years, what a pleasant reminder to find that in adversity the “me in me” is still there, and that cancer did not take a darn thing away from me and that I still rely on God’s wisdom to get me through the tough stuff. That the “charge” I sensed at it’s conception five years ago has sprouted in this blog. And best of all, that after five years, I still am the luckiest girl in the world for my phenomenal village.
Fall seven, stand up eight. I am standing again,…
I Am Back on My Feet; I Have Rallied.
I have made some decisions in the last few days and I want everyone to know that this is where I have arrived; this is where I will start. I want you to remind me of this when I lose course and am in the catastrophic death spiral that we all know I get into at times.
I have decided that dying is simply not an option.
I have two kids to raise, a lot to give the world and I just plain enjoy life too much.
“Dying is simply not an option” will be my battle cry and I will be a warrior and an Amazon. Amazon women cut one breast off so they could pull their bows back further. I intend to pull that bow back as far as it will go to release a strong and sure and very deadly arrow into that cancer. I have my eye on that mark already and will not take it off of it. Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off of your goal anyway.
Second, I have decided that I don’t want to get into percentages and prognosis’ and lymph nodes and sadness. I am always been about optimism and humor and have (finally) harnessed this again. The doctor last week after telling me I have cancer was explaining some radioactive isotope thing they will do to determine if how many lymph nodes are involved. He started to explain that it was “very low levels of radiation” and I said, “so it’s not like it will give me cancer or anything?” He missed the humor but I knew the “me in me” (as a wise man once said) was still there even at that awful moment.
When I go Tuesday I simply intend to ask them how they are going to cure me, and what that will look like. I refuse to have my ego attached to cosmetics and my health decisions blurred by grief.
My friend, a seven year survivor put it this way.
“The mastectomy got the cancer off of me, all the rest is just a life insurance policy and Lauren, you buy the best damn policy you can get.”
I am counting on everyone to help me find the all the best insurance out there. No man is wise enough by himself. Insurance comes in all shapes and sizes from holistic, to chemo to chiropractic to diet to exercise to joy. It may be costly in many ways but we are to live simply anyway.
My daughter is lying here on the floor with me as I write this wrapped in a pink blanket. My son sleeps soundly with a pink hope bracelet on. I would walk to the end of the earth for them and I intend to. They are already protected.
I have two patron saints. Joan of Arc; she said “I am not afraid, I was born to do this”
I know in my heart I was born to do this and teach the world and my children how to stare adversity in face, and, from step A-Z, how to solve a problem with faith, assertion, humor, and dignity.
My special saint is Mother Teresa. She has said so much that makes perfect sense that I can’t even pick one to include here. But, I want everyone when they pray for me and my kids to pray to her. The Catholic Church needs evidence of her miracles to make her a saint (as if she isn’t one already) and I intend to be the one that puts her over the top. She lived the life I have aspired to live. I want prayers to be that although we don’t understand God’s path we have faith in it and trust it. I simply need His grace in guiding myself and children through this path he has chosen, and His wisdom and clarity in making the best choices each day.
I am not going to argue with God. “Be still and know that I am God.” (I will however argue with the multiple professionals who missed this and perhaps later get a convertible out of this but that is another matter.)
I am going to ask people for whatever it is I need. I can get very direct about this. Please don’t hear this as being demanding or ungrateful, it is just how I micromanage and gain control over loose threads. I tend to repeat things when I am anxious. If I get obnoxious tell me but I will thank you in advance for listening to the same thing over and over, it is how I gain mastery over things. I tend to interrupt more when I am anxious, I am sorry, this is rude but it is an operative of my fear that something I need to know or say will slip away from me.; bear with me. I am an intuit and if I “read” fear from you it will rattle me. Don’t hide it.
If we all just speak what is true we will be okay. That is all that God wants us to see and do anyway.
It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to shepard a family through this. I will rely on my village heavily.
I am the luckiest woman on the face of this earth because my village is phenomenal.