Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Breaking my silence and kicking some butt


 

My fourth of July started out like any other....I slept in, hung out with the kids, made my first ice box cake, loaded everyone into the minivan and headed over to our friends house to swim. The air was hot, the pool was refreshing, the food was delicious. The rest of the afternoon we alternated between the pool and stuffing our faces with hot dogs, chips and fruit. And I wish I could say we ended the day with an amazing fireworks show, but life does not always go as planned...as I have learned this past year. Instead,  I ended the night in the emergency room waiting to hear if my great aunt had broken her hip.
 
The frailty of  life slapped me in the face as I drove home and the tears began to roll down my face in waves. I cried and I cried. I cried  for my aunt, lying in the hospital bed and full of fear. I cried for my mom and the last year that I spent surviving instead of thriving. And I cried for the unknown future.
 
Let me rewind back, to last June. Life was relatively good...We had found a new church family, bills were being paid, the kids were healthy, I was in the midst of grad school and then with one phone call everything began to slowly crash down.  
 
I do not remember exactly what was said or who it was on the other end off the line. All I remember is this: sitting in my best friend's VW, in the parking lot of Roscoe's  and the words -- "It's breast cancer and its stage four"-- finding their way to my ear. And at that moment, I am in complete and utter control. My voice is even keeled, I am "ok". But minutes later when I hear my husbands voice on the other side of the phone all the fear and the  sadness that has been building up inside of me spews out in one giant gut wrenching sob escapes my lips. These sobs come one after another, over and over again like ocean waves. While the words breast cancer, stage four, and terminal flew through my mind like a runaway teleprompter.
 
That ordinary June day was just the beginning catalyst of a very turbulent, trying year. And despite all the trials that followed, my mom's cancer is the one that has stunted me the most. If you are at all familiar with cancer, stage four is the worst and basically means terminal. Even now, a year later, saying, or this case typing, the word "terminal" sends a chill down my spine...it just doesn't seem real.  I see my mom and she looks "normal", maybe a little more slimmed down, but otherwise the same. When I watch her chase my kids around I cannot believe that inside her body a war is going on. But then there are those moments when she winces in pain, or struggles to catch her breath that the reality of her diagnosis slaps me in the face. 
 
Cancer is our new reality. It dictates everything we do. It has infiltrated almost every aspect our lives. Cancer does not just infect one person, it infects the whole family. Cancer is our new normal. 
Cancer took my words, but I am fighting back now and taking my words back. So, in an effort to kick cancers butt, I am writing again. Cancer is not going to win.
 

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