Thursday, 2/21

Hi to everyone (if you are visiting...if not, I'm happy to keep a little log for myself!)

I had the good fortune to speak to someone today who was inspirational, a woman who is just a couple of years older than me, who has 3 children around the same ages as my own, and who also has breast cancer. She has just gone through a double masectomy and chemo, so talking to her was helpful as I think of the path ahead of me. She suggested I start a page on CaringBridge.org, which is a great website...but as I'm still having a hard time seeing myself as a patient I think I'll just start here for a while, with a little journal. I'm used to this, I've written here before, so this feels more like me for now. So please forgive me if someday I am more capable of seeing myself as a patient and I then send you over to CaringBridge, to a page there. For now I'll just write my thoughts and put little updates here.

Today I had an appointment with a genetic counselor and had my blood drawn to see if I have a mutation in the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene. I'm not sure that any of the information I could get will affect the imminent future, as I am almost entirely positive that I am going to go ahead with the double mastectomy and I'll have to have chemotherapy either way. It will be good to know if I need to look out for my ovaries, etc. in the future, and it should be useful info for my sisters and children.

I'm doing pretty well with the diagnosis, especially during the day when there is so much to get done - all the appointments to schedule or attend, all these kids! and regular life things. I get a little more worried at night. Since it is evening right now, I should probably make this a very short post and come back tomorrow when I am feeling better about things! But maybe I'll just go on and on...

I guess it is really sinking in how much I did not expect this for myself, and how strange I find this whole situation. I just never, ever, ever thought that I would have breast cancer, and especially when I was 34 with 3 young children at home! I keep telling myself that I've made it through other totally unexpected and hard things in the past, but I am going to have to make a huge poster for my room so that I remember. I have made it through hard times before.

I keep telling people, and I really mean this, that I am so worried about my kids. I know that kids are resilient, I know that we have a huge community of support, but I also know from experience how much things can hurt small children, especially if it involves their parents. I just want to get them through this fine, but I know that I am not exactly the most quiet or private person and I'm afraid I'll just be dragging them through all of this with me. So pray that I grow up a bit and learn to hold back for their benefit! (It is a shame Emma is literate...maybe I can keep this blog a secret from her for a while!)

Anyway, let's think positively, Pam. Here are some amazing things that have come of this, in just the 6 days that I have even thought of this to be a possibility:
  1. I'm totally done worrying about a few things that have bothered me for years - I've been whining to Bill for years that I need to get myself that career I was going to have, that there is so much I want to do, that it is so boring and monotonous to be with the kids all the time. Now I am just glad I've been with them, glad there is nothing else I need to organize to get cancer removed and cured. I've been trying to stop whining about that for years and wow! Now I've stopped! Bill will attest that this couldn't have come about for any other reason than something really big.
  2. I've spoken to, or heard from, my dearest friends from all across my lifetime...realized I have some pretty amazing newer friends, have had opportunities to talk with my most wonderful aunts and uncles.
  3. I've never been so happy with my hair! ha ha
So tomorrow is a quiet day, no appointments. It is hard to not be at the computer, writing back to all of my dear friends, family members, and family members of friends, but I am going to try my hardest to take a break. I've got so much reading to be done to mentally prepare myself for what is about to happen, and I really want to put my little self on that rowing machine for a good long time (it's the best way to clear out bad thoughts and put the good ones back in, I find), and most of all, I need to have fun with my children, and then yell at them when they get too rambunctious and start hurting each other. That way they'll feel like everything really will be somewhat normal around here!

But, to everyone, THANK YOU SO MUCH for such an overwhelming expression of your support of me and my family. I have read every message, and I've told Bill of them also, and he cries everytime he hears of someone else writing to us! It means so much to us.

So I will write more again soon...hopefully not so long, though!

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