21 May Mommy, Are Your Boobies Broken?
Being diagnosed with breast cancer, having a bi-lateral mastectomy, dealing with the emotional trauma of telling my kids I had cancer to facing the psychological scars of survivor’s guilt has been part of my 2nd act. But when it comes to breast cancer I’m not alone as 1 in 8 women will receive their own breast cancer diagnosis.
Sadly, every year many women and men will lose their life to this horrible disease leaving family and friends to wonder why it was their loved one. Without a doubt being diagnosed with breast cancer was devastating. If you let it cancer will invade your identity and try to make you feel subpar, unworthy, and without a purpose. Every day I give thanks to the many blessings I received and being cancer free is just the beginning of my 2nd Act.
Some days I stop and ask myself, “what did I do to deserve to live” while others have lost their battle to this horrible disease? What I realized is that everyone has a purpose in life and it’s trails like cancer that give us the strength and courage to understand the process and share the pain so we are able to fulfill our purpose in life.
Every day we are dealt unexpected problems that force us to deal with them. How we respond is the only thing we really can control. It’s easy to say, “Attack each problem with a positive attitude” but when the problem is Breast Cancer and death is knocking at your door your sense of control quickly vanishes.
Hearing the words “You have Breast Cancer” literally takes your breath away as you immediately see your life flash before your eyes. All I could think about was leaving my kids without a mother and husband without a wife. It felt like my entire body was paralyzed as I could not move, think or respond to my surroundings.
But I refused to remain silent and allow Cancer to define who I am. My faith was stronger and it helped me maintain a positive attitude and together with all the prayers I was able to deal with adversity head on.
In the beginning everyone around me lifted my spirits with positivity almost fooling me to believe I could do this with little energy. But BREAST CANCER is relentless and will sneak in to rob you of your daily blessing if you let it. It was then that I realized it was my positive attitude that helped me and others; leaving them with a desire for more. On the surface, it was a desire to simply live- but the overflow of blessings and sweetness that came from the success of adversity is what drove me to live my life by helping others.
Sadly, before I was diagnosed with breast cancer I knew very little about the disease, other than it affected the breast. One of your immediate reactions is to “google” breast cancer and learn as much as possible about the disease only to become frustrated and overwhelmed! I instantly felt I needed to be an expert about breast cancer and all the other scary relatives such as mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemo, radiation, just to name a few.
If that was not enough I was also forced to research how to tell my kids I had cancer. I found some helpful tips but nothing can fully prepare you to tell your kids you have CANCER! I searched for the perfect words and realized none exist. There’s simply not a cookie cutter approach because all family dynamics are different.
I’m supposed to tell my 3 year old daughter, Alyssa and my 9 year old son Matthew “Mommy has breast cancer but everything is going to be okay”? How do I reassure them when I have doubts myself? Telling my kids I had breast cancer was incredibly painful. But watching their eyes fill with tears as my son asked me to “promise I was not going to die” was unbearable!
My daughter Alyssa put things into perspective when one day she asked,
“Mommy R Your Boobies Broken”? Out loud I responded, yes my Boobies are broken but they will be fixed. I remember the smile on her face and the giggle she had after she asked me about my boobies, I laughed so hard I ended up crying
What most people don’t realize or see is the hidden psychological scars that remain long after the surgeries and treatment are done.
It was my encounter with survivors that opened my eyes and made me realize I had been blessed with an abundance of fruit and it would be selfish not to share with all. I had the ability to share my story, adversity and help other parents talk to their kids about Cancer, so in May 2014, I self-published, Mommy R Your boobies Broken? Breast Cancer through the eyes of a 3 year old. My path to my 2nd Act had been defined so now it is my job to share it with all.
My hope is that by sharing my story I will inspire women faced with breast cancer the courage to stay strong, share their story, and live their life by helping others.