So one of the delights of having a three year old AND cancer is not being able to keep up with her. Literally and literarily….That’s right, I was chasing my three year old, unsuccessfully, through the adult stacks at the local library. She of course found this delightful and squealed, giggled, and laughed even under my best mommy glare and the threat of no ice cream. The librarian and a handful of patrons looked on in horror as this out of control beast who must have been raised by a slovenly, heathen woman with no rules and a giant crockpot at home filled with sugar soup, terrorized the aisles of literature. The librarian, bless her, finally took pity on me and helped me and my aching joints catch up with her stating “We need to get her over to the children’s side.” I said, “Oh no, we’re going home.”
The three year old heard this destination declaration and went from gee-isn’t-this-great-fun giggling to heartbroken screaming and sobbing. This brought renewed looks of disgust from my fellow bookworms. The thing is, 15 years ago, this experience would have left me mortified. I don’t know if it’s age, the disease, or this being my third child, but I almost instantly saw the humor in it. I don’t condone the behavior, and it is one that needs to be promptly squashed. Running from mommy can be dangerous, especially if there are cars nearby. But I took it in stride as an expected element of development. All children have these moments. My daughter’s just happened to be very public. I was less concerned with the thoughts and judgments (if there even were any) of others. My life, my daughter, my happiness. Cancer definitely did teach me the importance of those things, and the unimportance of the former. So, thank you Cancer, you horrible beaten foe, you.
I made this for Arianna the other day and she loved it. It’s not too tasty without some kind of sauce for us grown ups but I’m having trouble deciding on a sauce or relish type of accompaniment that would go well with this. I used the big Hebrew National beef franks. It was fun. 🙂
It has been a year and a day since my initial diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer. This officially makes me a one year survivor. I find myself asking, a survivor of what, and for how long…how accurate is this? Obviously, the cancer, but I feel it represents so much more. I am a survivor of the self-examination a diagnosis like this brings. There is a forcible growth that occurs to allow one to mentally survive being faced with a terminal illness that will leave your three children without a mother if you succumb. I never considered myself to be much of a whiner, but this experience has shown me how many little things I used to allow to affect my existence. It makes me ashamed to have been such a small-minded, myopic, and negative person. I cringe at some of the behaviors and thoughts my mind once housed. As a dear friend of mine, Scott, once said (and I’m paraphrasing)…Isn’t it nice that it’s in the past so you don ‘t have to deal with those nasties anymore? This was a lesson that was very hard for me to learn until now.
Some things, then, did not survive the cancer. The anger that I carried with me for so very long, and that hurt only me, has gone into remission along with the cancer. Also, sadly, some relationships and friendships did not survive. They were with people who either did not contribute in a positive manner to the way I wanted to live my life, or with people that had no interest in looking at themselves in the way I was forced to. It is difficult to be around intentionally self-destructive people who are in denial after surviving something of this magnitude. I am far from perfect, but I am happy and open-minded. I try so hard not to be judgmental, and having relationships that, by definition, prevent that, simply couldn’t be a part of my life anymore.
So it is not so much that I am a one year survivor of metaplastic breast cancer for medical & statistical purposes, but that I have been on a one year journey in which cancer has birthed a new and exciting life for me. One that is filled with joy, love, gratitude, and the pursuit of the things that are truly meaningful to me. I sincerely thank those of you who have helped me through this time, in whatever small or large way. I would not be here, as I am today, without you.