PINKtober- “Don’t be fooled by her cuteness.”

PINKtober- “Don’t be fooled by her cuteness.”

Time for an update…or a statement of sorts. Awhile back my daughter Kaylee who is now 11+ years old said something to me that has stayed with me to this day. Her and her sister were having a petty argument of some kind. They both came running into my room and Kaylee is ready to state her case. She starts off by saying the following about her sister… “Don’t be fooled by her cuteness.” I couldn’t help but laugh:) When I think of Breast Cancer Awareness Month the same words come to mind. “Don’t be fooled by her cuteness.” Sure, she is pink and pretty…and when you make anything pink and adorable it’s cute right? Sadly, it’s not. For many who have battled this disease it sort of puts a big pink bow on cancer…and it can get old fast. A whole month is a lot of pink to take in. (oddly enough my birthday is smack in the middle of this month as well;) Don’t get me wrong, I have a new found love for pink. Since I was diagnosed last year I wear my breast cancer pins regularly, I have pink shoes…and even a tattoo of a tiny pink ribbon I see everyday in the mirror. But… I feel like those things are bought on my terms, and are things that have been given to me, or charities I know have been involved in their making. Not, a supermodel with a pink ribbon on her nipple in some ad. Or someone trying to sell an item for pure profit using a pink ribbon as some sort of gimmick.

I guess, I just ask that this month you take the time to see past the pretty pink ribbon that is slapped on most things…and see that this horrific disease is nothing but pure evil. It is hell, and I will be the first to say that.

Breast Cancer changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I never thought at 32 with a 4 & 9 year old at home I would have to fight like hell just to live another day. That the Gift of Life is just that…a Gift. Not a guarantee. That those women who I admired and who I fought with side by side would not “lose their battle,” but fought like hell until their bodies could take no more. They left this world as Warriors and nothing less than a title of Warrior would be fitting. But, with that…my heart was still breaking. For their families….for their kids…for their parents….and all who they left behind. The sadness that follows is unimaginable.

I can’t even find the words to express how this has changed me. Not only the physical, but the emotional. From my body, to my pain, to infertility, to not sleeping…to people starring…to a million other things. Most days I can keep it together….and others, something will trigger a thought in my head and it’s all I think about.

I wake up everyday and have an internal fight that races through my head. I am so eternally happy to be here and see my kids and my family and be present for all the joy that they give me, while at the same time washing off my now deformed body in the bath with tears streaming down my face….filled with sorrow. I look at myself and see two large scars where my breasts use to be, and I know in an instant breast cancer was the culprit. Being feminine was never really my thing…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want my breasts. I chose not to have reconstruction because what I lost that day, I cannot regain. I can’t have a surgeon work his magic and somehow make me look “normal” again. He can’t make me look like the “old me.” I have to learn to mourn that loss…and try to move on. This….this, is my new normal. Slowly, I am starting to realize that. I am now 33 years old and walk with my head down each time I get out of my car and use my Handicap pass. I see others looking at me, and wondering why in the world I would need it at my age. The short answer…breast cancer. The long complicated answer…Taxol, a chemo drug has a side effect that includes neuropathy..numbness in hands, fingers, legs, feet…and so on. To keep my life I was told chemo and a double mastectomy were needed. Sadly when chemo is given it has many many side effects. Some stay with you a short time, some a lifetime. But, at that point in the game, what choices do we have? None. We fight, and we push forward and we agree to anything they say will make this go away. So, now a year+ out from chemo I have almost no feeling from my knees to my feet in both legs. Even now, I write this at 4am in my bathtub….which is usually where you can find me. The one thing I can feel is temperature change. So, I take a lot of baths…. A LOT. When my legs are bad, like now when the seasons are changing I can take 12+ baths a day. It takes up a good portion of my day some days and is beyond frustrating, when I have so much I want to do. They ache and they are sore and I can’t move or walk or do much…so a long hot bath helps give them life for a bit, so I can try to get a little stuff done. Last year, just playing with my daughters I stumbled and broke my hand. It was chilly outside and after awhile I had almost no feeling anywhere in my legs, and tripped. I have tried different medications and therapies and so on to help this…but nothing has worked. So, I just do my best. Sleeping…and staying asleep when they are aching is a big problem.

I could write a book on the ways that Breast Cancer came into my life and screwed everything up. As I sit here from my bathtub…the house all quiet….I realize though I am doing my best. Everyday I wake up and God gives me a another chance at Life, I try to make the most of it. More than that, I try to remember those who fought this battle before me and are no longer here. What their loved ones would do for just another moment with them. So, even if I have to yell “quit bickering with your sister” from the bathtub… I realize that it’s the best I can do at this moment. I am here for them, I’m trying, and right now in my life that has to be enough.

So, I will wrap this up by saying just as my daughter did…

“Don’t be fooled by her cuteness.”

(Not Sophie, I’ll always be fooled by her cuteness:) lol

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to remember that all cancers, including breast, are taking the lives of people you know and love everyday. All cancers need a cure….period.

I ask that every time you see a pink ribbon this month you look past the “cuteness” and see this disease for what it truly is. Do a breast self exam every single month, get mammograms yearly, go to the doctor immediately if you ever find something and get it checked out.

Please remember these statistics:

*About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

*In 2014, there were more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.

*An estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,570 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. About 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in MEN in 2014.

*About 40,000 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2014 from breast cancer.

I will end this with some of my favorite quotes, and update photos of my family:) Love to all❤️

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Woot Woot! Found my username & password!

I have been trying to find my username & password to this blog for FOREVER! (it was defaulted in my app i use, then the app got deleted:(

I just figured it out. Apparently, I had used another email account I never use. Yeah for BLOGGING! woot woot!

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just a memory…

So, yesterday consisted of me trying to ignore the big pink elephant in the room. I knew it was the day I had my double mastectomy last year….but tried to not acknowledge it in any way. But…. as everyone knows the more you push something down, the more it just wants to boil back up. How do you remember something that was traumatic, without dwelling on the past? It was indeed probably one of the most significant days of my life. Yes, it revolves around cancer, and losing part of my body and femininity….but I can’t just forget it happened right?

I have to admit that this time last year I was almost entirely basing my actions on fear. I was scared. I didn’t know much about breast cancer, and what I did know…was that women die from it. After my surgery I did everything possible Not to look at myself and my scars…for weeks. This even included taking down the mirrors in the house & bathroom. I was just scared. My girls were just 4 & 9. So, I did what I thought would give me the best chance of living a long life….and that was to lose both breasts. I knew reconstruction was not something I was going to focus on right away. I was sick, and couldn’t care less about boobs at that point. I just wanted them gone…the cancer to be gone…and to move on from this.

As I sit here now a year later I think I am doing a pretty good job. I know it’s hard for some to understand why I would write or even give any acknowledgment to such an awful day…. but it is a part of me. I can’t close my eyes, open them, and have my breasts just reappear. Something happened… and the fact that I remember that day, or am a bit more emotional…is just part of it I think. I hope that they can understand that.

I sort explain it as a death of someone you loved. You miss that person, and that loss never goes away. Christmas and Thanksgiving you think about that person and how much you wished they were there with you. Just because they are gone, and the day they passed was incredibly sad…it doesn’t make you stop thinking about them.The day of their passing is a day that comes and goes each year and for a moment you still remember that. Do you not still remember their birthday each year, no matter how long ago? This is how I feel.

I will never forget the people I loved that have passed on….no matter how many tears I cry because I still miss them.

So, today is a new day. I can remember where I came from without obsessing over the details that were horrific. I am doing my best, and well that is just as good as it gets. I shed a few tears…I starred in the mirror at my scars for awhile, and now I am moving on. I’m never going to forget…and that’s okay. I just ask for compassion, love, and understanding, from those around me. If they have ever suffered a loss or heartache….of any kind…. they know it’s not easy. Times like this I think of my grandmother who passed years ago. I remember the day she passed, I remember her birthday each year, and at Christmas I know she won’t be visiting. No matter how many years have passed, it doesn’t make me miss her any less. I don’t sit and dwell on it…. but I do shed a tear or two when I think of her.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been supportive and understanding.💜❤💜❤

First photo was right before i left for surgery. I had Sophie take a picture with me. This was how we felt;) lol The next photo was taken 3 days later in the ICU when I started to feel better.

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1 year ago….

The time has come:
January 16, 2014

Exactly 1 year from the date that changed my life forever. I heard the 3 words that when put together in a sentence will indeed change everything. You.Have.Cancer.

I can close my eyes and it will take me back there. The tears…the sadness…the worry. But, a year later I live to tell the story. My body is changed, and I am changed… but I prayed to God that I live to raise my babies and be a mother, wife, daughter and friend….and I am. So, my prayers were answered. How can I not be the luckiest woman in the world?

Sophie is home sick today and although I may have wanted some time alone with my thoughts…the Lord knew I needed a distraction. He knew this day would be a hard one. I will snuggle her, I will hold her…. and I will thank the Heavens that I am here today for her.

I will never forget this day….ever.

But, I can move on from it.

This day does not define who I am as a person. And quite honestly I’m not sure I would even take it back now. I am a different person….a better person, than I was 1 year ago. I love with all my heart, and I give all I have to give each day…because I know tomorrow is not promised.

I will never give up when it comes to the fight against cancer. Almost 25,000 people have read this blog in the last year. If just one of them read my words and did a breast self exam….or had a mammogram…it was all worth it.

Thank you to my family and friends that stood by me and showed me the true meaning of LOVE. Today is a good day.

I couldn’t have asked for more💗

Photos:
The first photo was taken this day one year ago after I was diagnosed. I sat at the kitchen table with my mom (my kids didn’t know yet) and I told her to snap a photo…. I knew it would be a day I’d never forget. I hate the way I look in it… but I love how carefree my children look. The rest of the photos are just favorites💜

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NO CANCER!!

Just got the phone call that the lump was negative for cancer!!!!!

So excited!
Thank you for all the love & prayers!

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Lumpectomy Part II -Done

Another day…. another surgery;)

So, almost exactly 1 year to the date I had my 2nd lumpectomy to check for breast cancer. (Jan 10, 2013 & January 9, 2014) Lets hope this one has a different outcome;)

I was scared going in, but not nearly as scared as I thought I would be. Maybe because it felt like I had done this all before… and, it wasn’t “new” to me anymore. The kids have been off school because of snow all week, so I was actually happy they were home today so they could be with me:)

Surgery went well and I was released pretty quickly after recovery. The immediate feedback seemed pretty good, but we are waiting for the official pathology on Monday or so. Sadly when I was diagnosed last time the needle biopsy before the lumpectomy came back Negative for cancer. Then, after the lumpectomy we had a good feeling by the look, texture etc. of the lump and again…we were wrong. So, this time patience is a virtue;)

I am really trying my hardest to think good thoughts and stay upbeat about the results. I will worry when I need to, but not before.

Thank you to everyone for all the prayers. My family helped me so much today, and I am so lucky. And….all the emails, texts & messages from friends & family was amazing and uplifting. So, thank you💜💜💜

I will update as soon as I know more. Hugs & Kisses

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Not the update I wanted:

Sadly, I have surgery on Thursday to check one of my lymph nodes for cancer. I was laying in bed doing my self exam, and all the sudden I felt something hard under my skin.
Now, remember I no longer have breasts so it’s a little easier to feel something…. and a little tougher because all of my chest area, and most of my upper arms are totally numb from the double mastectomy.

So….. I am scared. I am worried. I want this to come back negative so I can keep trying to move my life in a positive direction. If, by chance it is positive… I will need chemo again and also radiation. I’m really only 6-7 months out from finishing the last cancer treatment.

I am terrified, but want to end this on a more positive note. This is the 3rd lump in my breasts I have found on my own. What this means is…. DO YOUR SELF EXAMS EVERY SINGLE MONTH. If anything at all changes, go to the doctor and get it looked at. Thank you
for the constant love and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart💜

January 10, 2013 – Lumpectomy
January 9, 2014 – 2nd Lumpectomy

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