Reagan from Michigan recently learned she has breast cancer, a self-professed “fighter, educator, and humorist,” Reagan shares her amazing story. Life is about living and not just about avoiding death! – Lets celebrate life.
Cancer, well now that’s a crappy word.
And let me tell you, it’s even worse when it applies to you. But that is what it was for me, on June 7, 2013, as I took the call from the hospital, my mother by my side.
Cancer, A word that, for the next phase of my life would become an integral part of my daily vernacular. UGH…….Cancer.
Three tumors in my right breast to be exact , two babies and a momma. If you have not had a cancer diagnosis, let me tell you what the weeks following the diagnosis are like:
If someone isn’t putting a needle in you, making you take another test, or forcing you to fill out the paperwork again that you just filled out last week, your friends and family (if you are as fortunate as I am) are keeping you so damned busy you almost don’t have time to think about it , Almost.
You will spend a great deal of your time reassuring others, hoping that maybe some of it will rub off on you.
You will discover that just when you thought you’d lost all hope in humanity, you get cancer, and find out people are actually extraordinary, you idiot. The friends you do know will offer support, like videos of their babies giggling to get you through the tears. And it works. Or designer scarves they collect for the trauma (TRAUMA) of losing your hair to chemo. Or people offer to shave their heads in solidarity. Or people just offer their time and love, which means so much. You are overcome and extraordinary isn’t a fitting word to describe these people because the right word doesn’t exist.
And THEN the waves of people you don’t even know come into your life, that have been through this and offer their support, and wigs, and stories, and you will not feel alone.
If your experience is like mine, you will be assigned a staff of people like nurses that run down the hall to hug you when they see you, and ask how you’re doing , Or a surgeon who responds to your calls and emails as though you’re her first priority all of the time. You may have some butterflies about the experience, but absolutely no hesitation about the care you are under.
Cancer has become, in its own way, a blessing. Hrmph. Take that cancer!
Not only has it opened your eyes to how truly special, and selfless, people can be, which under ordinary circumstances is always there under the surface, but now allows itself to shine.
But also gives you the gift of finding out maybe (finally) what you’re really made of. For me, I’ve always fancied myself a wimp. Not so much anymore. I’ve done some things that rather sucked in the past month, and came out smiling (Really! Kind of! Gritting your teeth is a form of a smile!). And emotionally, well, that probably doesn’t need to be said. I have learned that I am strong, and will surprise myself yet.
For me, because of my age (38 years…very, very, very young) this has happened at a time that I’ve realized I can turn this into an opportunity to raise awareness to my friends, and others, through my blog, to start thinking about breast health. Take it seriously. If you take the steps I was (admittedly) lazy about, you just might save yourself from this altogether, and if you can’t, I hope my new role as an educator (and humorist) has eliminated some fear about the unknown. It has helped me in my process just to spill my words on a page (and I DO like to talk).
Surgery is Monday – 15th July 2013 and that is a new experience for me altogether. I will be having a double mastectomy with reconstruction followed by chemo. I will be alright, I know that I will, and getting the breast reduction I’ve wanted for years, just in an unexpected way. Life has a sense of humor.
This is but a momentary diversion that is changing my life for the better.
Silly cancer, I may have you, but you don’t have me.
You can reach out to Reagan at @reaganv33 or visit her blog at http://www.damnitihavecancer.com/
Photo credits to Tina Derusha
Thanks and keep smiling .