Family and Breast Cancer: Feeling Normal Again
I was diagnosed with breast cancer over two years ago and ever since then, life has been a rollercoaster. During treament, my life sort of fell apart, as life sometimes does when the unexpected happens. One of the things that quickly became apparent to me as I went through treatment, though, was the importance of having a network of people who loved and supported me through. My biggest supporter was my then 3-year old daughter Noelle.
When I would feel my lowest, saddest, most depressed or questioning why certain things happened in life, she would appear in front of me and then I realized that I needed to question no more. She was the most "right" thing I'd ever done in my life and how could I ask why I was sick when I had something so beautiful in my life - my child. Why ask why about the things that are not so pretty in life when we don't ask about the things that are so right?
My daughter, without knowing it, forced me to look inward and find peace in where I was...to find gratitude in the most challenging of moments. I knew, looking at her innocent, but wise, little face, that things would be alright and that everything was as it should be. Whether I lived 3 more years or 30, I needed to find my peace and say my piece in the world, so that however I left, whether by cancer or some other way, I would not leave with regrets.
So, I made a decision to LIVE. Not just exist, but to be ALIVE in every moment. Once I made that decision, everything changed. I was in control of my life, not the cancer. It was only a bump in the road. Even though chemotherapy treatment was brutal, I came alive in spirit and mentally, refused to let it be the boss of me.
Last year, around Christmas time, my daughter told me that I was "different now" and I asked what she meant, she said that I was always happy and laughing and that I looked different... this out of the mouth of a five-year old. What she was, was indomitable spirit, me being present, and ALIVE-ness.
Earlier this year, I planned to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. There was so much to learn there - all the breast cancer experts, researchers, other organizations, people to meet- survivors, advocates and all my breast cancer "bosom" buddies...hahah... I had to get that in there! Well, I looked at the calendar a few months ago and realized that it was on her birthday, so I had to pass up the opportunity and instead, I planned and had the most fabulous princess party with my girl and ten of her best friends at Libby Lu.
A part of me wondered, am I missing something by not being at the conference? Then, I looked at my daughter and thought, no, I'm not missing anything. Everything is as it should be. Life is perfect right now. There will be another conference, but there is only this moment, with my sweetheart, Noelle, celebrating the birthdays that I didn't know that I'd be alive to see. This was my moment and hers....we had a blast...and I got to spend time with 11 real life little princesses!
I dedicate this my first post, to my little earth angel, Noelle. I love you!