I’m 30 years old, 7 months pregnant, I dress up for Halloween wearing an orange shirt with a pumpkin drawn on my big round belly. Our little two year old dinosaur trick or treats for the first time with his monkey and princess friends.
I am planning the McWane Science Center annual fundraiser, Beaker Bash. This year, in collaboration with our new dinosaur exhibit, the theme is “Bad to the Bone.” I connect with a local motorcycle gang who agrees to line the red carpet/valet drop off with their Harleys to welcome guests.
We are living in a rental house while we renovate our historic little 2 bedroom/1 bath into a two story, 5 bedroom/3 bath home for our growing family. I design our kitchen and pick out countertop.
I run the three mile loop on Wednesday night, a little winded at 7 months pregnant, but feeling great.
I go to my 7 month check up with Dr. Sharp. Running through my list of pregnancy questions, the last one being the pain in my left breast… a little bit of blood. The Dr. is immediately suspicious and sends me the same day for a biopsy. Slightly annoyed to miss my Target run, I agree.
Two days later I am sitting in a salon with Wills teetering on my pregnant lap as he gets his blond curls trimmed. My phone rings. I answer it.
The next I know I am looking into the mirror at a tear streaked face I barely recognize. Wills puts his pudgy baby hands to my face and asks, “mama, you have a boo-boo?”
That was 11 years ago. 11 years today.
What an amazing rollercoaster of love, laughter, adventure and sadness these 11 years have been. I’m grateful that there have been more smiles than tears. While cancer has taken a lot from me. My breasts, my hair, my ovaries, my invincibility… Cancer has given me an enhanced appreciation of the joy of being alive.
In 2014 – every cancer survivors worst fear… reoccurrence. Metastatic, stage iv breast cancer. I experience a deep, dark depression, anxiety, fear.
We came to understand that when the timeline is shortened – you savor moments even more. We doubled down on hope.
Today, as I think back to that young mom terrified with the news of a cancer diagnosis and everything she endured… I am proud of her.
I could never have imagined the chapters that would follow in my story. As I think back on the past eleven years I think the strongest theme is acceptance. Accepting the heartache, the disease, the loss of what I expected for our life. In each acceptance, a little light is sparked in the darkness. A tiny prick at first. But, then it grew stronger.
I read once that eternity is found in the moment of acceptance.
For a sentimental person, with a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) this is everything.
It hasn’t been easy and I know there will be hard things to accept in the future. But, I’m grateful I have come to this place. I’m grateful for today.
Turning heartbreak into love. For 11 years and counting… My hopeful life.