decisions.

The night is cool
The stars are bright
And on we go…
The mighty fight

I look into
My lover’s eyes
Are we fools?
Or are we wise?

I feel around
To find my way
I just can’t find,
I just can’t say

Which way to go
Not here nor there
Not there either
Where oh where

Where is my heart
Where is my mind
What do I know
What will I find

Is the answer
Tucked deep inside
Or is it out here
It cannot hide

Is it in plain view
For me to see
Waiting to be known
And to be set free

I’ll find it soon
Through my tears
Through my hope
And through my fears

The night is cool
The stars are bright
And on we go…
The mighty fight.

ignorant bliss.

I made an appointment with a new oncologist. I wonder what my future holds? I couldn’t get in until June. I can’t believe how busy all of these doctors are. It’s sad, actually. Well, I guess I’m not really in a hurry, I will just happily enjoy the next few weeks of ignorant bliss, until the next phase of the science project begins!

life is good.

I suppose it’s because I’m not in the medical field, and because I haven’t had surgery for 11 years, but anesthesia is a pretty weird concept to me. What’s even weirder is this amnesia drug they speak of, where I can talk to them but I won’t remember it. I wonder if I said anything funny or inappropriate. I hope so, the doctors should at least have a little entertainment in all this seriousness, no? I was pretty calm until just before I went in, and even then I only had a few tears. I remember waking up in the recovery room and Matt telling me the good news about my lymph nodes, and then what I thought was a few minutes later (turns out it was actually an hour and a half later) I was wheeled to my room. I thought I’d be emotional afterwards, seeing my body different. In fact I was pretty sure I’d be a complete mess. Turns out, the plastic surgeon did a pretty big fill in my expanders during surgery, so I basically look the same as before (you know – minus the bandages and bruising). No emotional breakdown necessary. Cancer is OUT, no cancer in my lymph nodes, my boobs already look fine, I am home, and I am surrounded by the best family and friends ever. Life is actually pretty darn good right now.

home sweet home.

Everyone seems surprised I’m home. Before I left, I asked the nurse if I was going home early. She said, “not early for you, but compared to many other people, yes.” As Matt was loading up the car, she sat and chatted. She told me I have a high pain tolerance and low anxiety levels and those really contributed to my quick recovery. I was so grateful that she took the time to tell me that. It is a good reminder to me to stay calm, to stay on course and to appreciate life where it is. I know I might have other difficult times coming up – but I will remember.

the day after

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the surgeon today, because she went out of town for the weekend. I feel like we have a strange relationship – I’ve only spoken to her twice, yet I have extreme gratitude for what she’s done for me. I just want to hug her so hard and cry and tell her thank you and I love you – but that’s probably not appropriate so maybe a card? Anyway, I’m sad she’s not here. My plastic surgeon did stop in, who I am also very, very grateful for, and I have placed my utmost trust in him to make me look great again. Not only because I have to, but because I believe he will. He asked me when I wanted to go home. I said today, and he said ok. Hooray! I didn’t sleep well last night because my bed is up at an angle and I can’t get the pillows to work for me so that my head is comfortable. Poor Matt was no better off, all the cots were taken so he got to sleep in a recliner they wheeled in for him. And he had to get up every 10 minutes to fix my pillows. Cheers to our own beds tonight!

jello and applesauce

I just can’t get enough of this jello and applesauce! I’m not joking. I keep sending Matt out for more. Who knew I liked jello so much? More importantly though, surgery is over, I’m in my room, and I’m still alive. Not that I didn’t think I would be, but this whole surgery thing is a little weird to me. More on that later. For now, more jello please. With some morphine on the side. Oh, hey – why didn’t anyone decorate my room for Cinco de Mayo??

gratitude.

The end of the third and final evening of our vacation was perfect. A last minute trip that I wasn’t even sure about. The kids were impossible to settle down even though it was 10pm. We were about to go tell them to quiet down once again when we realized that they were making each other laugh deliriously. The kind of purely joyful kid laughter that makes it impossible for you not to laugh too. We silently stood at the foot of their bed and listened in the dark. I eventually ended up laying in between them on their pull out couch, and as they finally dozed off, I had two arms and one leg on me while I listened to the crackling of the last embers in the fireplace. I smiled as their silly laughter echoed in my head. I couldn’t have been happier. I am so grateful.

it’s only been a week.

I have accomplished so much in just a week! I had my first appointment with a breast surgeon. Then I researched everything she said. I researched everything on my pathology report. I started new Pinterest boards where I can keep track of breast cancer resources and nutrition articles. I joined some support groups on Facebook. I tried meditating. It’s already taking over my life!

But, I’m not angry. Right now, I’m fascinated. Why did this happen to me, what things in my body made conditions favorable for these cells to be able to start multiplying? My cancer is strongly hormone-receptive. Is it something with my hormones? Am I deficient in vitamins which make my immune system less able to fight these guys? I feel like it’s a puzzle that I’ll never be able to complete, but for now I can’t stop reading and wondering.

Earlier this week I also talked to someone very dear to me who is already a survivor. I know I am only at the beginning of this, but I already have a whole new respect for her and everyone else who has gone through anything like this. Even though I am starting to feel pretty stable, I’ve experienced intense emotions and fear this week that I never have before. I’ve had to run to the bathroom in the middle of playing legos so the kids won’t see me crying. When you’re healthy, you feel invincible. Maybe that’s what bothers me the most – that I discovered that I am not.

the first meeting.

The first of many, that much I know. The surgeon was nice. I tried to absorb everything she said as she talked and showed us my mammogram images. It’s unclear if it has spread to my lymph nodes. If not, I am stage 1. If it has, I am stage 2. My lump is very small, but the pathology report lists “lymph-vascular invasion” which means it’s on it’s way to those nodes. I hope with all my being that it hasn’t gotten there yet.

Apparently I have very dense tissue and the images are hard to read, so an MRI is in order. We do know that I have a lump, a satellite lesion, and one or more microcalcifications – which means that it’s spread out enough that a mastectomy is recommended. I know that this has happened to so many women before me – it’s just hard to believe that I’m now one of them.

oh how I love the stars.

These fascinating, spectacular, twinkling little things. Millions and millions of them. Neverending in their beauty. I grew up staring at them from my dark backyard, laying on the cool grass alongside my sister, pretending we could feel the earth turning. And maybe we could.

Now, my stargazing is out the window. I chant with the littles, “star light, star bright…” and we silently make our wishes with our arms around each other.

Stars are so trustworthy, so reassuring. Night after night, they are there. Glowing, comforting, guiding. My favorite Twinkle verses are the lesser known ones:

When the blazing sun is gone
When he nothing shines upon
Then you show your little light
Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark
He could not see which way to go
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep
And often through my curtains peep
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark
Though I know not what you are
Twinkle, twinkle little star.

My journey will be long. It will be hard. I am quite sure I don’t even have any true comprehension of the difficulties of the process. I can only hope that I come out of this a better person. That I learn some important things about life. But no matter what I will remember that there will be an end to this, a time when I can reflect back on this year instead of wondering what it will hold.

And then there’s blue. Peace, serenity, calmness. Wisdom, confidence, trust. Healing, understanding, hope, faith. The colors of blue. I know I will not always have all of these, some days maybe none of them at all. But I will strive for them. I will. Every. Single. Day. I will wake up each morning and find the courage to make it through the day. Because I am stronger than you, cancer. You will see.