Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cancer knocking at our door...again.

I've had several eye openers lately in a time when I would think not much else could shock or shake me but never say never I've learned. Several weeks ago while hooked up to my IV getting my chemo treatment, my mom's cell phone rang (who was sitting on a stool beside me) she answered the phone call, my grama was on the other line. The conversation was short but one that I'll never forget...my grama too has been diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I'll never forget that moment. I can't get over the idea of my mom sitting beside her daughter receiving chemo and getting a phone call from her mother with the same diagnosis. That just shouldn't happen.

Fast forward three weeks, my grama has had a successful lumpectomy and a clear pathology report and will receive radiation...she will have this nasty chapter behind her very soon thank god!  Both my grama and I are going to continue the genetic testing (beyond the usual genetic test to check for breast and ovarian cancer genes which we both tested negative for).  My grama has received documentation from her genetic counselor that the women in her family (daughters, grand-daughters) need to begin mammograms at 20 years old.  I'm so relieved to have this in writing to help with my sister and cousins to get in front of this nasty disease so that we can continue healthy beautiful lives together.  As we receive results to our genetic tests, I'll make sure to post, again to keep track of this process, and hopefully another family will be able to take something positive away from our experience.  But most importantly, this makes me so strongly urge every woman to continue monthly self exams and to please urge your loved ones to make sure they are doing the same.  For those who are of age, please don't forget your mammograms regularly. This stupid stupid cancer is unbelievable and can so quickly creep into anyone's life in a moment, please don't take your health for granted.  If you feel this doesn't apply to you, think of someone so dear to your heart and do it for them!

Below is part of a letter I sent to my grama and grampa.  I realize this is very personal, but I want to document this experience and to be as real as possible so that I can always remember these moments.  This experience to me is so prominent in my recovery, and I want my son to know how much my grandparents have always meant to me, taught me and encouraged me.

I love you grama & grampa and thank you for letting me share your story.  You are my inspiration.


Grama,
You are the most beautiful (inside and out), strong, determined woman I know.  Grampa has told me on several occasions throughout my life that I look like you...I can't tell you how much of a compliment that is to me because not only do I think you are so beautiful, but I know how much Grampa thinks you are, so to me, that compliment meant the world to me and still does.  To be compared to you in any respect is something that I take much pride in.  My mom has these characteristics that I've described for you and it's because you and Grampa instilled these qualities in her and I'm so thankful she instilled the strength in me.  It's because of your strengths that you will rise above and conquer this Grama.  You will come out even stronger in the end.  I have admired you my whole life.  You have a way about you that when you walk into a room you light it up just by your presence alone and you put a smile on the face of someone just by talking to them.  Your laugh is so contagious and is something I recognize in a room full of people and remember your laugh from when I was a tiny little girl.  Robert has told me that I have your laugh and I love it!  In fact, Robert has told me that my laugh is one of the things that drew his attention to me all those years ago when we first met. 
 
I'm describing you in the way that I see you because for one, I should have told you all these things many years ago just because (and I'm sorry that I didn't) but I need to tell you that I think you have been faced with this to help others see what a truly happy person is like and to learn from you.  When you begin receiving treatments you are in situations where you meet so many different people all dealing with so many different challenges and unfortunately most of them don't look at life the way we do.  They choose to be negative and focus on the problems or challenges they are faced with instead of being grateful for all the things they can control and continue to enjoy their lives and all the beauty within it. I believe with all my heart that you have been placed in this situation so that people can see you and Grampa and the beautiful love you have for one another, your beautiful outlook on life and I know you will inspire these people you encounter to be like you and to be happy...truly happy.  I believe this inner happiness is what makes people healthy on the inside.   Let's face it, some people won't get to come out on the other side healthy, but if we can help them to enjoy this life that we are given, no matter how long or short of a time we have left, it's all worth it.  I don't want you to feel pressured by what I'm saying to you, I just want you to know that by you just being yourself and for the other patients to just be in your presence, it will inspire them.

Peace & Love,
Misty 

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Hi Friends, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I read each and every one of them and they mean so much to me. Have a fabulous day!! XO, Misty