NOTE: I’ve purposely kept this blog very hush-hush. Heck, I just told my mom last week that I have a blog, but I didn’t share the URL. I just don’t want to feel restricted or edited in what I say or how I say it. BUT there are a handful of people in my real life with whom I HAVE shared this URL (and I know a few of you have shared it with mutual friends, too. That’s okay.) This post is written for you. And for those of you I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting IRL (yet), please see my requests at the end of this post – many of us have been on the widow/solo parenting journey together for a while, and I’d love to hear from you too.
Hey, friend. What’s up? From Facebook and Instagram, looks like you had a great holiday. Yay! I’m still on break – classes don’t start until the 26th. Woo-hoo, the life of a college instructor!
Seriously, most of you have been on this journey with me from the time of Mike’s death. This blog has been my way of keeping you in the loop with how I’m doing, what I’m feeling, what’s going on with me. And hell, you know me pretty darned well. And you know that if you call me, no matter what’s going on, I’ll probably say, “I’m great. Kids are good. Mom’s good. How are YOU?” I’ll immediately deflect to talk back to YOU because I really hate talking about myself.
But I’ll write it. This blog is like opening my brain and letting you all in. It’s real. Sometimes raw. But always authentic.
You’re probably up-to-date on what’s going on with my boob. Yeah, I know you’ve been reading because you’ve called or texted or emailed or messaged me (or, ahem, perhaps you’ve messaged someone else to get the skinny?? I’m on to you, you-know-who. OK, I don’t know specifically WHO you are, but I have my suspicions.).
You have NO idea how much it means to hear from you. I’ve read every message and text and listened to voicemails over and over. Thank you for caring so much. I love you. You’re kindness makes me cry. Happy tears. Tears of love.
And I suck as a friend because I haven’t responded to your outreach. You took the time to reach out. You want to talk, and I’ve been silent. Sorry, not sorry. It’s still hard to talk about this (completely unplanned) journey. I don’t know what to say in words that come out of my mouth. Words that come off my fingertips, sure, but it’s hard to SAY the words out loud right now.
Look, you know me. You know that I don’t want you to feel sorry for me or for you to feel bad for me or to hear “you’ve been through so much already.” It is what it is, you know? Cancer’s here, and now I have to deal with it. Sucks? Yes. But there’s only one thing to do: win.
I’ve thought a lot about this, and there are some positives:
- I get new boobs. Yep, 40+ years of these puppies and gravity is winning. But not for long. Whether I decide to go for a conserving surgery or just have it completely removed, I’ll have new breasts. Insurance pays for them to look symmetrical, so the left one won’t be left out – it’ll get a lift (at minimum).
- New boobs might come with a tummy tuck. If I opt for a mastectomy with flap reconstruction, the fat and tissue from my abdomen will become my new boobs, and my stomach ends up “tucked.” I never liked how my c-section scar healed, and this might be the time to get all that fixed up.
- I get new hair. Yes, I am still a little emotional about the curls, but I’m getting over it after looking at my wig options. However, I haven’t seen my natural hair color since 1992. Who knows what will happen when it grows back! Will I be blonde? A ginger? A true brunette? My hair was naturally all these at different points of my life, until college when I started coloring it. Only time will tell what’s really going on with the follicles. But until then, I get to add hats and scarves and wigs to my wardrobe – and I don’t have to feel bad about buying these accessories. My head must stay warm, you know.
So there. No reason to feel sorry for the diagnosis. I get new boobs and hair! Woot! And you’re all invited to see both and celebrate with me (with a lot of wine) when this is over. (Well, probably not see-see the boobs. That might be weird.)
But, I know you want to DO something. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through the grief process, it’s that people want to help. So I’ve been thinking about that – how you can support me from wherever you are. Three things:
- Obviously prayers are very much appreciated and needed. Pray for me, for the kids, for my mom, for B, for my doctors. We’ll take all the good thoughts we can get!
- Keep calling, messaging, texting, reaching out. I might not respond, but I REALLY appreciate you and your messages. I need to hear your encouragement. It helps so much to know you care. Thank you.
- I need a playlist. Whether it’s sitting in waiting rooms or waiting during chemo treatments, I need some good, upbeat music. Consider it a way for you to hug me – I’ll think of you when I hear the songs and feel the love and good vibes you’re sending my way. I have some thoughts on how this might work, if someone wants to spearhead this. OR, just leave your musical suggestions in the comments below.
Much thanks to all of you. Much love to each of you. XO