Monthly Archives: September 2013

Nashville Woman Rock For The Cure Retreat!

Women Rock for the Cure Retreat Update:

So, this will be a long post:) Everyone is asking how my retreat in Nashville went…and it was amazing! So much more than I ever thought it would be. I was so nervous about going and I’m not exactly sure why. These are my peers…they get me…they have all walked in my shoes…what is there to be scared of? I guess I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to deal with the emotional baggage that “is cancer” in a group setting. Most days I am crying or cursing, and I’m not sure if that is the “norm”‘or not.

So, I get there and it was really quite exciting. There are seminars, speakers, info, open discussion, and so on. For the first time since being diagnosed, I don’t feel alone. This is a Young Survivors Retreat and most of these women have a life very similar to mine. Certain times I open up and ask questions, other times I just want to sit and listen. We are all at different points in our treatment, and unfortunately at just a few months out I wasn’t feeling as good as I’d hoped. My leg numbness is no better, and some days it takes every bit of my energy just to get up and walk. I do not feel my feet when I walk and it is quite painful. So…. the bathtub at the retreat center was my friend:)

At some points it was very emotional…and other points it was very light-hearted and fun. We made music, listened to great music (had 3 song writers come and sing their music to us) had a make-up class, and just acted like girls at summer camp;) But…then there were also moments of tears.

I realized I had so much anger towards cancer I never thought of before. As I spoke about how angry I was at what cancer took from me….the tears came out. I was very very angry and upset about what this horrible thing did to me, my body, my family, my marriage…and my life. I didn’t feel like I deserved any of it…but, I was in a room full of women that didn’t deserve it either. I wasn’t alone. For once I could ask someone a question and relate to their answer. I am 32. I have small children at home and a life very different than a person in their 50’s or 60’s. Yes, we have similarities, but the women here were dealing with every issue I was…and it felt good to have peers. Having “peers” was a first for me.

I always knew I was angry at cancer, but I never realized the extent. In my mind I would act out a story that portayed a women who was going about her day to day life and then all the sudden she is walking and someone pulls out a gun and points it to her head. She is scared, she is taken off guard…but she listens and does whatever she has to do to escape with her life….and nothing more. She is told she must do certain things that will be horrible and painful, and scar her for life…but if she does them…she will be set free. So, she does it. She does everything she is told….and she lives. But she is forever scarred, she is forever changed, and she is forever scared it will happen again. That is what I felt, and for the first time I could put the right words to the right feelings.

But, it was a sadness and an anger I knew I had to let go of. I had to heal and move on, and stop being scared. This weekend helped me with that. I asked our group leader if there was a point at the retreat where we could “burn shit.” 🙂 And what I meant, was for me I had to write down my feelings of anger…and finally let them burn away and be gone. Everyone thought the idea was great, and we all did just that. We burned some “shit.” 🙂 And it felt good!

I felt so much love from the fellow Survivors, but also from all the staff and people working with WRFTC. They were so caring and loving and you could tell they do this each year because they want to, not because they have to. I have never ever felt that kind of generosity before….it was like Christmas for cancer patients at some points. We left with so many treats and gifts it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I couldn’t believe so many people wanted to help us, and treat us to all these nice things:)

So, the weekend was life changing. I let go of a lot and dealt with many emotions I stuffed down deep inside. I think if I ever had the chance to come back, I would be a different person. At some points in your life you are a “giver” and some times you are a “taker.” This retreat I was more of a “taker.” I listened, I kept to myself at times, and didn’t always participate in activities. I just took in the info and had my space to deal with it. Next time I feel I would be a bit more open and have the chance to “give” more to the group. My wounds were still fresh, and that held me back.

So, to wrap things up it was wonderful. There are not many moments in life where you can say something was “life changing,” but this was one of them. I could never repay them or tell them enough the gratitude I feel. It was the gift of a lifetime. It also allowed me to let go a bit and realize my girls would be just fine without me for a few days:) I very rarely ever leave them for the night, so it was hard. But, John made sure my babies were well taken care of:)

I couldn’t be more grateful. It was something I needed to move on from, and start the journey to healing. I realized Cancer does Suck…but I am never alone. I will never give up on this fight, and I will never allow it to have power over me. God is in control, and my faith is strong enough to know He will never lead me down a path I cannot handle. I may need a little help along the way;) but it is a journey I will never take alone.

Women Rock For The Cure is an amazing organization that I will forever have love for. Here is their site to learn more or Donate:

http://womenrockforthecure.org/

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Retreat…

Flight delayed twice… waiting at terminal for flight to Nashville.
AC not working properly in Airport…. and my carry on bathroom items in my ziploc had a spill and ruined everything in the bag…. no worries replacememt toothpaste etc ran me $38…. jeez! This is not starting well. Hope this is not a sign from God?

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Nashville

Today I leave for my breast cancer retreat in Nashville. I’m excited to go, but scared at the same time.

I miss my family already:(

Will update later… for now I am making signs to leave all over the house to surprise the girls:) I even got them a little gift they will have to treasure hunt to find in the house somewhere:)

ps- also adding a picture of Sophie in her Halloween Costume. Got it for a steal! yeah! Kaylee is going to be a cupcake and it will be a whole sweet treat Halloween Family:)

xoxo

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Rock For the Cure

These are part of the wonderful people that raise money so we can go on the retreat to Nashville. Thank You

Martina singing a song dedicated to breast cancer with some retreat members in it:)

Update:

The post…..

Ohhhhh how I have thought about whether or not to write anything. It took me awhile, but I decided that any of the 21,000 people that had read my blog so far… love and care for me, would want to know what’s going on.

I recently deleted Facebook. I just needed a break from constantly updating my life and every event in it. I also think I just need some space. After everything that has happened this year… I just needed some breathing room. I am not against Facebook by any means, I just want to take a step back from it. And it’s also not that I don’t want to enjoy others life events and joys….I just have my plate full right now, and need to focus on me….for now. My friends and family know my email and phone and can text and so on any time they want.

More news: my leg and numbness is no better… and I have even fallen once because I couldn’t feel my feet under me…so that has been crappy to deal with. But, pushing forward and doing the best I can with the situation.

More news: before I was diagnosed John and I were off birth control. We decided to go off, and just see what happened…. well damn me!! Cancer happened! hahah… no that wasn’t a result.. buy yes, Cancer did happen. Please remember I am 32. John and I have never had super in depth conversations about having a baby, we just talked about it from time to time and one day said we wanted another… but no pressure, I’m fairly young and we’ll see how long it takes. Well, I found the lump in December I had no idea it would take me down the path of cancer…. never in a million zillion years did I expect that. So, babies were off the table, and it was time to “Heal Jennifer.” …. so that’s what we did. It couldn’t be solved in a week or a month….. it couldn’t be done when I had free time…. It was ASAP get your butt ready for a rollercoaster….we are strapping you in NOW! Double mastectomy… chemo…. and so on… months and months and months and months and months of treatment. It honestly felt like it would never end…. but thankfully it did:) It was a battle… but I live to tell the story….

So….. when I was first diagnosed I talked to all my doctors and was honest. I was worried we would never get the chance to have another baby and it was over for us. I was told I am Triple Negative Breast Cancer (no hormone involvment) so…. out of all the types of cancer to have mine was the harshest and did have the highest mortality rate…. but……. the silver lining…….I wouldn’t really be on any post treatment meds, and we could try for a baby at some point when my body was ready. So, I figured….we’ll wait a bit longer, but we’ll get there some day:)

Fast forward to now. I had some blood work done to see if I was in menopause… it was crazy ass high! 93.5. So… yes I am most definetly in menopause. 😦 I have terrible hot flashes, so i’m not all that surprised really. We talked to a few doctors and the news wasn’t good. My body, as of now… cannot make a baby. But… more than that.. it may never. (insert sobbing here) It may never re-boot and allow us to conceive and that’s just a fact. The ability to wait 5 years and “just see” is unfortunately off the table. I have the genetic deformation Brac2. What does this mean? Well…. it means I was at a high risk for breast cancer…. and got it. I’m also at a high risk for ovarian cancer, so I need to have a hysterectomy at some point to prevent that from possibly happening. So…. time is of the essence a bit. You wouldn’t think at 32, it would be an issue… but for me it is. So, where does this leave us? We heard from another doctor who talked to a fertility person and again it was bad news. I heard everything from …. “be happy you have 2 children.” “you could still try invitro and donor eggs (at $30,000+) a try.” “some women get steralized after they find out they are brac2 positive.” “we’ll see where we stand in 5 years.” So, everything was sad and not what I wanted to hear. I cried the whole time, and I’ve cried everyday since.

I look at my Drivers License from time to time and see a young woman, early 30’s… who’s married, healthy …. so on and so forth. All the basic information that makes me a “person.” …..Then I look in the mirror. I see a bald, breastless woman who looks beaten, scarred and now I have to add infertile. It’s just a hard pill to swallow. I don’t know who I am?

I agree that I found the lump in my breast on my own and did whatever medically possible to save my life. Some of it was drastic, but I wanted the very best chance to live a long life. Having no breasts and no hair… well, living was worth more to me than any of that.

I feel ungrateful to say I want another baby, when some are never allowed to have a baby of their own…. but then again I look in the mirror and see a 32 year old lady who has been to hell and back, and who’s body was ready in December to do this.

But why the guilt? Why “should I just be happy with the two I have?” Why are they saying this to me? I don’t think that is very nice to say. I don’t judge others… I don’t ask each person I meet everyday if they got on their knees each morning and thanked God himself for the gift of sight….for the gift of hearing….for the gift of life? In my eyes every second on Earth is a gift… but do people stop their busy lives and really sit down and tell all the things they are thankful for each and everyday? The answer is no. You could go on and on and on about how ungrateful everyone is. It’s just such a slippery slope where you want to have your own sadness, without others judging you on whether it is a valid reason or not.

I am sad. And I will be hearbroken for awhile if I am told at 32 and because of Cancer, the ability to expand my family naturally…. is finished. It’s a loss.

And I will grieve.

We see a doctor related to this November 1st and we’ll see what she says and go from there. But, for now… I am just going to focus on living one day at a time and making the best out of each one of them:)

ps- for those of you who don’t know, I am heading to Nashville Thurs-Sunday of this week for a Young Breast Cancer Survivors Retreat. I won the all expense paid trip with an essay I wrote, and I am so excited. I am scared, but so over the moon I get the chance to be a part of it:)

pps- enjoy some updated photos:)

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