So many of you have been asking/wondering about my extremely positive attitude.Years ago a very wise woman shared a quote with me on a retreat "The attitude you're using, is the attitude you're choosing" It has stuck with me for many years and when I am in a crappy mood I will often remind myself of this mantra.
Some of you have most likely heard of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's 5 Stages of Grief, and yes I journeyed through all 5.
Denial- When the Dr. first said that my biopsy was positive for cancer I remember thinking I didn't hear that right, but when he followed up with the "You will have surgery on the 13th" it was a little more real. The next two weeks were a bit of a blur with updating people, dr. appointments and lots and lots of research. When I got the call on the 12th for my check-in time, I was at Costco and broke down on the way to the car as it became very real that I had cancer and was going to have a mastectomy at 33.
Anger- My anger was never directed at a person, but more the situation and lack of control I had. Within minutes cancer had potentially stolen my time, my left breast, my immune system, the ability for me to breastfeed Baby Sager, and generally life as I knew it. This would make anyone angry, but I quickly decided that it could not steal my joy and passion for living my life. (see the acceptance part for how I reached that conclusion)
Bargaining- This was a fleeting moment as while doing research I quickly remembered all the times I had heard of a young child with cancer and had tried to bargain with God to spare Ellie and if anyone had to battle, it should be me. Now I don't know if this pleading has anything to do with my situation but it enabled me to be thankful that it was not Ellie, but me who would have to fight this.
Depression- So this lasted about 8 hours. On the Saturday after my diagnosis we were up at my in-laws to decorate (They live on Thoroughbred in Alta Loma). The family was treating me like I was crippled, I couldn't lift anything, couldn't climb the ladder, in essence, I couldn't help. So I went inside and had my pity party. I was tired from only having about 4 hours of sleep the night before and feeling sorry for myself for so many things. I wallowed in self pity and pretty much had a miserable time. And then....
Acceptance- After a full day of decorating (and it was almost time for the USC-UCLA game) the family came in and Ellie was covered in dirt from head to toe. I looked at her and realized that she had played so hard and had a wonderful day and I completely missed it by feeling sorry for myself. It was then I decided that I couldn't let cancer take anything else from me, especially anything meaningful. It was then I decided to put on my big girl panties and live my life and be as proactive as I could with my treatment plan. Even though I can't control the cancer, I can control how I deal with it. I also realized that my three-year-old needed me and I have to be her role-model for how to face adversity.
When we got home that night I told Sam that I was going to start a blog and post what was going on, on Facebook.
My goal of this blog is to help educate people about cancer, because lets face it most of us know that it sucks, we know that it is bad, but other than that we really don't know about it. We hear stories about things that will help prevent cancer and things that can cause cancer but really and truly cancer doesn't care about any of that. This video offers a great visual of cancer cells at their finest.
I also have a vast support system, and while I don't mind sharing the same information repeatedly, it is way easier to type it once and share it so that everyone gets the same info.