About Me...

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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On the Edge

Have you ever had a recurring nightmare? You know the kind you wake up from with sweat running down your face? Can you see it? I sure can... I am desperate, paralyzed and running from the angry villagers following behind me. Their torches lighting up the darkness and then I fall to my knees at the edge of the unknown unable to get back up, helpless and alone.Well I think we all can agree 2009 has not been my best year! This has been my year to rant, rave, kick and scream and yes even to knock my own chair right out from under myself.( If you figure that one out please let me know will ya?) I have had several melt down. Seriously folks who knew water thrown at a non green person could actually cause her to melt?

Let's retrace the last 9 months:

  1. Micah's mono. ( January - August)

  2. A new breast lump followed by a lumpectomy and biopsy. ( February)

  3. Port-a-cath issues --- who could forget the port! (May - August)

  4. Two insane surgeries (May/July)

  5. Johnny's job --- well what can I say about that? It came out of the left field somewhere. (July)

WARNING!!! Crazy woman on the loose! She's over Go ahead just hit me over the head and call me nuts! Singing sha- la -la- la- de- da.... Hey where did I go? Do you remember when I was sane? Hey now I'm your crazy loony girl! Just slipping and a sliding around the funny farm.

OK seriously, I can't say this word enough...seriously... life has been a bit like living on the wild side for the better part of this year. I know many of you know the feeling. One day you're just out for a row down the River of Hope and the next you're Living in the Land of Woe, hiding out in the Cave of " I Told You So" and eventually tossing about on the Sea of "You're Going Down Baby" !

Living life from the edge of shock and fear can lead to the total unraveling of your strength but I do not believe your foundation during times like these crack. No I know from experience it does not fall apart but it sure shakes a lot. But then that may have something to do with the larger than life size beast on your trail!

Yes she's around every corner and not just creeping up from behind mind you. No my dear there is no creeping about her. The beast, Cancezilla, is a big, ugly, bad beast chasing you from one corner of her world to the other. She is mean and heartless yet even when one of us falls under her feet or is dragged into her den of terror there is hope. Why you ask? Well let me tell you this my friend because no one is ever left behind! We are a band of sister sand brothers navigating our way through Cancezilla's land of the lost.

But you see this is the thing: When we say no one gets left behind it isn't just a one time thing. No way no how. Where would any of us be without the continuing support of our Band of Sisterhood? We can fall apart, fall down and completely unravel knowing we have the support and mercy of friends and fellow survivors to help pick up the pieces.

So yes I have had my year of " There she goes again" but I have not been left by all. Thinking about how I have had the love and support of so many along the road this year brings me to tears. Even when I have hidden myself away or wailed loud enough to wake the zombies I have never been left behind. These are the moments I treasure, the ones that speak to me and carry me back to the River of Hope.

Sure the zombies may be peeking around the next corner, and yes Cancezilla may still be treading through the land but I know no matter how far behind I fall I will NEVER be left to face the angry villagers with pitchforks and torches alone!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Becoming Lady Marian...

I recently came across this most beautiful picture and it took my breath away. Lady Marian stands behind a tree next to a stream. Her quiver sits gently against a tree while she holds to her bow. Lady Marian is watching a swan swimming down the stream as if she holds a secret. Has she lost something or someone close to her? Is she resting before taking up her quiver and bow again?

As a child I grew up watching many of the old classic movies. I especially loved Earl Flynn's Robin Hood. I would pretend for hours I was Lady Marian and other times I would run around the back yard transforming myself into Robin Hood himself. There was no challenge too big I could not face. After all I was Robin Hood right?

As the years passed and I grew older I would revisit my faithful friend from time to time when I was able to catch him on the AMC channel. But nothing ever compared to my days of romping through my own Sherwood Forest within the boundaries of my own backyard.

Then recently I was introduced to the BBC America's Robin Hood. No it is nothing like Earl Flynn's adventures but it has been a thrilling adventure all the same. Joshua and Micah, my own two precocious boys, have found they can not stay away from our room when I am watching this brave new version of Robin Hood's story retold.

Although it is in many ways a new tale this new Robin Hood as set me drifting back to those years as a little girl when I transformed into Robin Hood with one exception. If I was to return to my backyard forest I would emerge as Lady Marian the Night watchman. As I have watched the story develop I have seen betrayal, repentance and forgiveness. I have watched Robin and his companions face grief and anger just as I have watched Marian become a free thinker full of courage and bravery. She is no longer an object of just beauty or a damsel in distress but a fighter. A real honest to God hero! She does not just follow instructions, no she follows her heart and throws herself into the battle. In the end as she lay dying, after giving her life for the greater good, Marian says to Robin: We were fighters and I am proud. Robin then responds to her saying:I can't fight without you!

As in this battle we fight as breast cancer warriors we face lose. Our world can and does come crashing down many a day but we get up do we not? We grieve and toss our anger around but in the end we know we must continuing fighting the Cancer sheriff. Because again as Lady Marian says: Everything is a choice; everything we do.

Just as this new brave and strong character emerged so I found I did too. I found myself speaking to the boys of bravery and strength, loyalty and understanding no matter our final outcome to encourage those that follow behind to continue to defend the cause!

For some time now the four of us as a family have lived through some pretty big adventures of our own. We have struggled, fought, cried, laughed and found retreat within our own version of Sherwood Forest's Major Oak. Cancer in of itself is a menace. Crawling, daring and eating away at your soul. Is that not what was happening to England in the tale of Robin Hood? King Richard, the Lion heart, was gone and so the great country of England lay open to power hungry foes. This is exactly how I see breast cancer. Slowly she creeps in into all of your life overtaking and holding you hostage against your will.

As this cancer begins to invade your home you may wake one morning, head out for a troll and suddenly find yourself chained inside of a dark, eerie dungeon. Bet you didn't see that one coming did ya? Nope, and that is how it happens... how cancer takes you in but.... does she have to keep you chained and defeated is the real question?

Yes there may be a price on your head or in my circumstances on my breast, but there is always a plan to be hatched so to speak. I love the part in the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood when Robin Hood and Prince John have this conversation: Robin: I'll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I'll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England. Prince John: Are you finished? Robin:I'm only just beginning. From this night forward I'll use every means in my power to fight you!

As I little girl I never knew these words would challenge me beyond my childhood, but now looking back I see how they have. I will never be finished fighting cancer. I will not lay down my arms, nor allow any sister or brother to fight alone! Revolt? You betcha ya I plan to revolt! There is no way I will allow this menacing force outside our refuge of the Mighty Old Oak to win this fight!

As women the lose of a breast is painful both physically and emotionally. Most do not see the scares we hide behind our outer shields. Yet the scares are deep and as in Robin hood, they may eventually take us down. But... I always love this word... our work, our battle and our rise against the power seeking to destroy us will not be forgotten. The advances we make today will come to fruit one day. To many what Robin Hood , his men and Lady Marian were attempting was treason, still they fought and as some gave the greatest sacrifice with the laying down of their lives.

So I will continue teaching my boys to stand up and not back down. We will fight together, side by side many a day. Yes I may now see myself as Lady Marian, fighting from inside the devils fortress but I am not a weak maid anymore. No, I am a fighter just as I know my boys have become warriors themselves. Sure they may be fighting from the outside but they do so together plotting against the the power hungry, cancerous sheriff of Boobieland!

Have we seen the last of the cancer sheriff and her mates? No, not in the least but you know she now knows she faces resistance. She knows her days are numbered and she knows are numbers are growing! Again to quote Robin Hood ( this time to the sheriff) :Robin:" For future reference, anyone wearing one of those tags is with me. "
I have mine my fellow warriors do you have yours?
I end with this my dear ones as I call upon each of you to arms this October? What are we? Survivors!!! What are we? WE ARE SURVIVORS!!!