Apparently I have a lot to grouse about today, and I hope my former editor and friend will not take umbrage at what I am about to say.
Some days, being a breast cancer survivor is not as easy emotionally as you think. Some days I even freak myself out with whackadoodle thoughts. I think this is pretty normal considering the life altering experience aspect of breast cancer.
My moments generally come late at night when I am really tired. I had one this weekend.
I had a wonderful weekend with my sweet man and friends, yet in the dark wee hours of Saturday night into Sunday morning that devil of a thought that haunts every survivor whether they choose to admit it or not popped into my brain.
What was the thought?
Quite simply “what if it comes back?”
He held me and dried my tears that followed (not a river, just a tiny trickle of a few) and said basically if it happens we’ll deal with it then together. And he said just ever so calm, loving and matter of fact, and you know what? I am damn lucky.
But I know what at least in me, in part, triggers these occasional thoughts. And it’s when I hear about all the women from all walks of life who have died from breast cancer. It’s a really bitter pill to swallow some days having been touched by this disease. I’m here, they aren’t, I could be them, and they me.
Most of the time I can relegate these thoughts away and focus on the positives and blessings in my life but there are some moments on occasion when those thoughts just creep into your head. And they are an insidious pain in the ass.
I have been told I have handled this whole thing pretty well since I first received my diagnosis on April 28th. But I have to be honest, I have worked hard, probably harder than I have worked on other things through out my life. The reality is when God and the universe give you a wake-up call, you pay attention.
But for as well as I have coped 98% of the time, there are many women out there who have not coped as well, or are not coping at all at present. When you receive news that you have breast cancer it makes your whole world just stop. And for some that devastating feeling, that fear? It lingers. So when I see things during this month of vomitorious pink overload that emphasizes those who have lost their battle to breast cancer, not to be disrespectful to any of their memories or to their families and friends left behind, but I want to say “hey now, look at us – we’re still here.”
And I had that feeling again today when I saw something in the West Chester PA Patch. It seems to be a new Patch-wide initiative to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to breast cancer:
In Patch communities all over the country, we want to help you pay tribute to your lost loved ones by publishing their photographs on Patch.com. You are welcome to share your stories of these special people with others in our online community. You can even submit video tributes of your loved one.
Tell us your story or send your pictures
Patches all over are inviting people to submit photos of loved ones who they lost to breast cancer. I get what they are trying to do, and the comfort they are trying to bring, but hey, you know what? I am still here and plan to be here for a very long time. And as a survivor, it helps me in those moments that occasionally creep into my head for a little visit to be able to focus on survivors.
As survivors, we all know the reality: life is a blessing. So help us keep the positive attitude and remember how some of these initiatives make us feel as survivors.
One thing I would love Patch and other media outlets to do is to encourage not just a pink sisterhood that not all can identify with at times, but to encourage practical things like the Driving Miss Daisy List. If I had the money and could afford to, I would start a non-profit called the Driving Miss Daisy List – because I will never, ever forget not only the alone feeling of oneness that hits you when you first get your diagnosis but watching all the women in this country who go through their surgery and treatment alone. When I first started this path, I thought I could do a lot of this by myself no problem. And while I have put on the big girl pants and done a lot of stuff by myself, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a lot I could NOT have done without my friends and family.
Ok, back to your regularly scheduled programming.