Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Next Phase

The last few months have been so crazy. I went from being a "new" parent to a cancer patient in just the blink of an eye. I learned about breasts and breast cancer. I learned about vulnerability.

I walked past store windows and was startled by my reflection. One day I was in the bathroom with one of the kids when I turned and jumped when I saw a man standing behind me…only it was my own reflection in the mirror. I learned to recognized this new image. I learned to be comfortable without hair. I gained a tiny bit more confidence and could empathize more with my kids who get stared at often.

I learned to make decisions based on what I know today, but that the information I have tomorrow may change the decision. I learned to stop second guessing myself. I learned to trust my decisions no matter how difficult they may be.

I've learned to accept help, which was possibly the most difficult lesson in this whole journey. I've learned I have TRUE friends all over the country... all over the world, and that I needn't have met them for them to make it into that category.

I have NOT learned to be comfortable with the word "cancer". I still have trouble saying, "I have/had breast cancer." Those words aren't for me. When a situation arises that I must utter the phrase my knees become weak and my stomach lurches. It doesn't matter who I'm talking to, how well I know them, or if they are a complete stranger,  I will almost always find a tear running down my cheek. I'm not usually a crier, but now I cry every day.

I have survived diagnosis.
I have survived humiliating examinations.
I have survived treatment.
I have survived discussing my breasts and nipples as if they were my big toe.

My spiritual self is intact. Perhaps its a bit stronger in some areas and weaker in others, but my physical self? It needs some work. Not just my breasts, but my entire body. Right now it is time to work on the breasts. I am stunned…I feel as if I'm walking in a dream…I can't believe this is what is ahead of me. I try to remind myself that, like childbirth, thousands of women go through this every day. I can do it. I will be fine. Still I must go through the motions of making sure Dean has all the information and documents he needs "just in case".

There is a lot of work ahead of me. Ahead of us. This is a four month process and then I must work on the other parts of my physical self. The overweight parts. The "not working as well as they should" parts. The parts that need to carry me another 40 years.

Tomorrow is the day I start.

I am ready. 


Fatcat said...

Go you! I know you can do it!

Stephanie said...

Thinking of you today!

jody said...

Thinking about you. Sounds like a tough journey, but you are up to the task. Your heart always has choices. It will be hard to find joy and pity parties are always acceptable if they have a time limit. I'm praying you are able to find even a little joy somewhere in every day.

Imogen said...

Imagine all your readers, friends, family, loved ones - all of us surrounding you in love and prayer. Sending you a thousand gentle hugs xx

eliz said...

So many words and thoughts swirl in my head. I feel helpless. I hate cancer too. I wish more than anything it did not exist. I cry with you. And I pray that you come through this with flying colors. Because we need women like you in our lives, in this world. Sending all my love with
(((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))) and many prayers

Betsy said...

Leah, sending prayers that your "guardian angels " surround you and give you strength and peace and that you heal soon. Take care. Blessing, Betsy

Cindy said...

What a journey you are on. Thank you for sharing so intimately, for trusting us with your heart. You will be in my prayers.

Serena Bunch said...

I came across this blog entry by chance, I think that you are a very brave person. Sometimes we aren't given the option of what path we are going to take, sometimes we are drug down the path kicking and screaming BUT always remember you're on that path for a reason. It's going to lead you somewhere, you may not find that it's the ride you signed up for, but its YOUR ride own it and make work for you. Good luck and I hope that you find comfort.

Bri Herrera said...

Thinking of you.

eliz said...

Still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers (((HUG))))