Cancer sucks. Everyone agrees with that - I do not think anyone would disagree. I have had people in my life who have fought and/or lost their fight to cancer (different types, though, as I mentioned previously I am one of the first people I know with breast cancer - or I was when I was first diagnosed, anyway).
When I was recovering from my mastectomy and lymph node removal surgery, my best friend from high school came to visit. She is definitely on my team. She and I have been celebrating our birthdays together since 1990; this past year was the big 4-0. On my birthday, I got a PETSCAN. It was fun. NOT. However, the results were fun because they were clear, which is all anyone who gets a PETSCAN wants.
I asked her when she was over if she wanted to throw a joint 4-0 birthday party a little later than normal - I ballparked it for June knowing I still had to go through chemotherapy. Just like always, she was in! She and I have been on one another's sides through high school and beyond - we took different paths in life but we never ever forgot one another.
Think about your life - do you still have someone who has been there for you since you were 13? If yes, you are very lucky. My crazy friend was even willing to have a big party with me and not get any birthday gifts from it.
We decided while hatching our scheme to celebrate turning 40 six months late to do it as a fundraiser for St Jude Children's Hospital. My best friend's dad lost a battle with lung cancer and I was feeling the shock of having a diagnosis (as my time between diagnosis and surgery was 17 days - though it felt like an eternity).
The party is coming soon but today, I got to go to a luncheon and accept a donation of $500 for St Jude in my name and as I was introduced (by my mom as she is an active member of this group), I was at first uncomfortable that everyone in attendance would know I had been diagnosed with breast cancer because people do treat you differently knowing you are or have been "sick" but it passed quickly because I realized that without this diagnosis, I would not be there collecting to donate to a hospital that has always tugged on my heartstrings.
I can say first hand that cancer sucks but no matter how much cancer sucks for an adult (and it really, truly sucks) it must be 1 million times worse for a child. To be a child and to have to undergo chemotherapy or surgery and to battle this disease is just absolutely the worst thing, in my opinion.
I have learned a lot through this diagnosis and living with the treatment for the disease - my priorities have changed, my perspective has changed. I went from being very focused on my children, career and self-promotion to just wanting to be healthy again. For me, today, being almost embarrassed by my body's failing has at the same time allowed me to do something small that is good.
I will continue to do small things for good as much as I can - I consider this blog a small way to share with others who are going through this fight or know someone fighting. I hope it helps in the time between...
**If you are interested in donating to St Jude, please do so by going to their website.
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