Sunday, January 19, 2014

Confessions of a Cancer Free Hot Mess

So here is the really good news - I got my MRI results and the "something" is officially a "nothing" and chances are good that I'll be able to have the preventative surgeries on my terms after all.

And it gets even better - I don't  have any ‘breast cancer gene’ related doctor appointments scheduled for a nice long six week stretch. This means I can get back to business as usual, which this week has meant countless hours of picking up those stupid rainbow loom rubber bands off my rug, over analyzing a conflict with a colleague, and waking up each morning with an anxiety attack

Because the truth is, now that I have a moment to breathe and reflect, I realize how changed I am. I was once so calm, in fact that was an adjective often used to describe me (particularly professionally) and now I feel anything but. I probably need therapy or yoga or both, but true to form, I'm anxious about finding the time to do so.

Maybe this is just a stage of grief that I'll look back at with humor. You know, like how I look back and laugh at a time when “pregnancy brain" made me buy a milkshake from the McDonald's drive-thru and then 20 minutes later I realized that I was without my milkshake as I had never pulled up to the pick-up window. Or maybe I'm using the braca1 positive label as a scapegoat. I could simply be stressed because my youngest daughter is a handful, or because I'm slowly returning to my career after taking time off to be a stay at home mom, or because I'm worried about making it all work financially. Or maybe it's a combination of all of the above. But for now I accept that I'm a hot mess. But a hot mess who is cancer free! So things are looking up.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting to Second Base, How I Spent my Winter Vacation

It has been an extremely long two weeks spent mostly with my two daughters at home, not 
working. This hasn’t been very good for me, as it led me to be hyper focused on the lump on my 
left breast. You know, the one only my breast surgeon could feel...that I wasn't really worrying 
about? Except holy crap! Now I feel it too, and am worrying about it a lot! In fact all vacation 
week that is all I did - feel it. I felt myself up during a 6 hour drive from New Jersey to Massachusetts, for two hours at the movie theater watching Frozen, in the shower, and at night in bed. I had my Mom feel me up, my husband feel me up, and I'm assuming (simply because they have no boundaries) my 
daughters felt me up. Finally, on Thursday I had my long awaited breast MRI (still waiting on 
results) so again there was some more second base action during that appointment. 

In addition to feeling myself up, I've also spent a lot of the past two weeks reading and watching 
the delightfully charming, but also subtly depressing, Charlie Brown Christmas. My daughter falls asleep best when I read her the book so each night I laid in bed with her relating as Charlie said "I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.

New Years this year was also tough. It's hard to take a ‘New Year, New You, New Opportunities’
perspective when you know the biggest thing ahead in 2014 is major surgery. Conventional New Years resolutions seem trite to me this year. Don't get me wrong, the past two weeks weren't always doom and gloom - there were pockets of good times: celebrating Christmas Eve with a Feast of Seven Fishes (one of my best decisions ever was marrying into an Italian family), a road trip and quality time with my bestie, spending time with my parents. And I do have some good stuff ahead in 2014: my daughter is turning 3 (my absolute favorite kid age), I'll be celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary with a man I'm still crazy in love with, and after a long journey to get there, I finally have three part time jobs that I really love. After giving it a lot of thought I figured out a realistic and fair new years resolution for myself. As this is the year I'm putting my health first, I resolve to follow in Michelle Obama's footsteps and put myself first in all manners. I'm all about being selfish and truly believe a happier and healthier me, will also make for a better mother, wife, teacher, and friend. So here's to 2014! The year of me! And since for the first time in 3+ years I'm not pregnant or breast-feeding, I can have 3+ drinks to that.