Yes, they did. All this time I thought they were my friends. Shoot…I used to kick it with them and take off my shirt sometimes just to watch them in awe. They were the source of so much…er..um….”joy”. Let’s just say I knew why they were called “fun bags”. Having breast cancer though is no fun. Having it twice is downright sad. Yes, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34 the first time. I had just lost my young, beautiful and vibrant mother-in-law, Miss Linda, to the same disease the year prior. She was 46. I never thought that my kid wouldn’t get to know her Nana but because of the disease, that’s exactly what happened. I had a recurrence last year and fought a long hard battle that I will have to tell you about later.
I friggin’ hate cancer. Clearly, all types, but breast cancer even moreso because of what it took from me – my boobs (yep, both gone and my reconstruction failed so at the moment I don’t even have fake ones); my hair (it was thick too….I remember cutting it off and putting it in a bag in preparation for chemo – now that I think about it, why did I even put it in a bag? It wasn’t like I was gon’ glue it back on…); my nails (they turned black and at some point, I lost my big toenails – ouch AND ugh); my energy (there were days when I didn’t have enough energy to walk to the mailbox or play with my kid); my money (cancer treatment is EXPENSIVE – even with insurance, those co-pays and deductibles and out of pockets are just as killer as the disease!); my appetite (I dropped about 30 lbs, which wasn’t all that bad actually but I do miss my old butt – boy you could sit a drank on that thang…but I digress); and my social life (I went from brunchin’ and happy hourin’ with my friends to being a recluse).
But cancer couldn’t rob me of everything. It didn’t rob me of my joy, my peace, my faith, my will to live, the love and support I received from family and friends, or my spirit. It damn sure didn’t rob me of my sense of humor. Laughing when I wanted to cry surely helped my disposition. There were some funny moments – losing one expander and being left temporarily with a Uniboob (just like its distant cousin, the Unibrow, nobody wants one); whippin’ out my fake boob at the dentist (hey, I got confused); asking for jello at the hospital and being given some generic brand that had expired 2 months earlier; and the wind taking my wig off in front of the oncology center. You had to be there….
Anyway, I felt like sharing today. If you know anybody battling cancer, please love and support them. Do something nice for them. Hug them if they aren’t worried about blood counts and a compromised immune system. Offer to take their kid(s) off their hands for a while..to clean their house…cook them some dinner. I had all of that and more from my circle of friends, sorors, and family. I will never forget their kindness….though I struggle to live each day in this “new normal” as I try to forgive my breasts for turnin’ on me…..