Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Miss Jones Chapel

The glittered sceptor I made for the Womanless Beauty Pagent fundraiser at Jones Chapel UMC.

This fundraising effort is for Relay For Life an American Cancer Society signature event. There will be men dressed as women parading across the stage and maybe even providing talent. I am the emcee for this loverly event. Should be loads and loads of fun for everyone.

I haven't mentioned too much about my cancer journey in several months. October will be many survivor years for me. I am just as passionate about sharing my experience as I was early on, because early diagnosis is key for everyone in every cancer situation. Some can be prevented and that is even more important for everyone to know.

Now about my journey. There are several stories I can share and as we go into relay weekend - I'll be sharing some of them. Mind you - at times these may seem callous towards people - that is not my intent. I simply think that the more real life stories of dealing and hope after hearing those words - "you have cancer" - give you a better picture of the fact that what your are feeling and how you are reacting is more than likely normal.

I had a wonderful outcome. Only a lumpectomy of my left breast was required. Clean margins and no lymph nodes were involved. I found the lump on a Sunday morning in the shower. The medical process began the next day. Several weeks later - the surgeon - Dr. Howard Abney said to me - "if you were my wife, daughter, or sister, the lumpectomy is what I would recommend." The surgery was then scheduled.

Fast forward only a few days. A wedding. A beautiful new start for a young couple. Friends of ours. Friday night the rehearsal and a party. Saturday evening wedding and reception. There were drinks and dancing, a party, celebrations. All of this was 4 hours from home for us. I wore the mask of joyful celebration - and the band played on - but inside I was slowly realizing that my path through life was changing. After the party we returned to our hotel and joined with another couple of our friends, we drank a few more, and ordered an in room movie.

The movie chosen was probably not really a good choice considering the plans for my week. We watched FACE OFF starring my secret boyfriend #1, Nicholas Cage and John Travolta. Not real relaxing watching for a girl about to have a possible body altering surgery. I do have to say - I really enjoyed the movie and have watched again and again since.

On Sunday morning, after a night of tossing and turning, we are up early. The reality is I did not sleep. I am not a pity party type of person. More charge ahead, deal the cards and play the hand you are dealt. This personality trait has served me well. But on this particular Sunday, I can feel it. IT being a full blown pity party. I know from the time I get up, that it is coming. I decided not to fight it. To just let it happen. I know that I will be better equipped to process eveything if I get this over with, than just move on.

But being the rational, take charge, keep control person that I am, I decide to let the man at my address know what is coming. I get my shower, come out of the bathroom, and announce. "I am about to cry and I want to give you some options - you can cry with me - you can stay and watch me cry - or you can leave and come back in a little while and I'll be okay." I have to tell you that I had no preconceived idea about how the man could - should - or would react. This was completely about my meltdown with no thought at all to his decision. I simply wanted to warn him - to avoid the "what's the matter" question after the tears started to flow. Poor guy - this was an impossible decision to be faced with early on Sunday morning.

We laugh about it now. I really can't believe I annouced a meltdown. He had his breakfast in the lobby, I cried and got it all out of my system. Then we moved on and played the hand we had been dealt.

The feelings you have and the way you deal with your news, will be strictly dependent on who you are. It really doesn't matter that it's not fair. That you hate this diagnosis. That you don't have time for this. Cancer doesn't care. The path through the journey is your path. You will find yourself stronger on the other end of this route. You will find relationships change as a result of this journey. You will be different. There is no right or wrong here. It is all gray territory. No one can tell you how to do it. They can only share their decisions. Your true friends will not question your actions and reactions to the news.

I am going to announce my midlife crisis in the same manner. Next month I am running away to a beach with those little umbrella drinks and a cabana boy to bring them to me. Anybody want to join my midlife crisis. ---- note to those who are offended this was supposed to be sarcastically funny.

Have a wonderful day.


Karen at Junking in Georgia said...

You are strong.. I admire the way you handled what life handed to you.. I think your positive attitude helped you have a good outcome.. so the kid going off to school is not all about your loss of her.. of course, life will change.. you are going to miss her a lot -the event in 18 days is a tradition to help you acknowledge that this change is happening... what will come next is not all midlife crisis.. some of it is midlife fun.. if you start to get in a funk about her leaving home think about how you would feel if she was staying home and working at a fast food place ( I don't want to offend any one whose child is ) :) this too will have a good outcome..

Carrie said...

I so admire you and the way you handle things. Thank you for sharing that story. hugs!