Can you hear the howling wind? I can. The trees are rustling and I am restless. Do you feel the chill in the air tonight? So many forces seem at play right here , right now. Do I regret my path, do I fear the journey ahead? No, but I feel weary already. Time seems to be standing still. I feel as if I have crossed into an alternate reality yet my feet are still planted right here in the ground. The minutes pass every so slowly and with every tick of the clock I grow more aware something is wrong, something is moving, festering, expanding within my breast.
Yes the sun has risen in the east today but I know, yes I am painfully aware my life has changed. I am no longer living in youth's blissful denial. No today the call has come.... today I became one of just under 10,000 women under 40 in the US to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
That was 2006. This is 2009 and though many feared they would lose me here I stand. Today, October 1, 2009, marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I had no idea three years ago at the age of 32 I would be counted among any kind of statistics yet I was, and I still am today but I am counted as a survivor. Even though my triple negative breast cancer only counts for 10-20% of the breast cancers found I am a survivor and what a powerful word it is too!
Someone once said, “Breast Cancer does not define me as a women, but my battle with breast cancer does.” Honestly those few but powerful words are about as close to the truth as it gets.
I have to admit I wish it was all behind us but three years after losing my breast to the beast we still wake to she her shadow lurking in the distance. Just last night Johnny and I sat shaking our heads over the troubles that we have faced together. Honestly there are still those moments when my missing breast takes my breathe away. I still have moments when I expect to see my lifelong friend, but then I realize she betrayed me and faced the guillotine.
Seriously what little girl dances around pretending one day she will lose her breast? Take a moment and think about it because whether or not she dreams about being dragged off into the uniboob dungeon or not the odds are not in her favor of escaping it's grip. This sweet little girl and her court of ladies has a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer and becoming 1 in 35 to die from it in their lifetimes as the statistics stand today.
Absolutely this beast came into our lives to rip them apart. She drew first blood and backed us into a deep dark cave. But what she didn't know was we weren't the giving up kind! Sure this beast came to ravage and to destroy but she only strengthened what she sought to dissipate. The sun is still rising' and yep without shame we are still barking at the moon. My life has been turned upside down and yes I am still waiting to finish my breast reconstruction. But... the hardest part is behind us. We have learned how to bend not to break.
We have climbed the mountains and pushed through the dark nights together. I have seen my boys brave as soldiers face the beast with her teeth showing and claws protruding. So many times my family has carried me, all the weight of my burdens and still had room in their hearts to embrace my weakness as strength. I have learned through all the ups and downs of living life with breast cancer life throws curve balls every chance she gets. I can say from experience once you have dodged a few of them you learn to deal, then cope and finally to survive.
So with a bit of humor and some frustration I live my life proudly as a uniboober. I guess in my warped sense of thinking, I have accepted my new state of mind and come to see my life clearly as I become a walking , talking open book. I have allowed the clarity of this insanity define me. Does that even make sense? You see I am apart of a very special and beautiful group of men and women who call themselves survivors. Honestly, after all the struggles, the battles and the hardships I would have it no other way because in the end I would not change a thing
Sure you may view me as some kind of a crazy woman, possibly a complete lunatic, lacking healthy living brain cells ( and you know you are probably not too far off ) but with or with or without those old cells I am still standing here with a new lease on life.
The truth is this: I have lived with breast cancer, the loss of my left breast, a bald head, a complete lack of eyebrows and eyelashes, not to mention the drama of having my nails fall off. Did I like it? No, absolutely not! But it is my life, my burden and now my cause.
October is here... may we remember those we have lost, fight for all those whose battle is still emerging , embrace those who have survived and be the difference that saves a life!