2013 has had quite its share of ups and downs. Highest on the high list was marrying my bestest friend. Cancer was probably the low, but in all honesty, it’s has its perks as well. For many people facing cancer, it’s a matter of life and death. But for me, knowing that it wasn’t going to be, it has been in many ways a blessing. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but the opportunity to take a look at your life in a brand new light, to really see what’s important, well, it’s a pretty cool thing to assess.
My family has always teased me that if I had my way, we’d all live in the same (sprawling, perhaps) house so that we could always be together. I’ve been getting my wish. Last night, I was surrounded by the people that i love the most, eating yummy Chinese food and welcoming in 2014 full of thanks for the blessings and challenges we have overcome in 2013 and ready to greet the kick assness that 2014 will bring. And perhaps poking a little fun at Fergie. Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean I’ve lost my intense obsession of making fun of celebrities. What the hell was up with that hair?
New Years is always a perfect time to reflect and this year has been plenty full of things to reflect on. I’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction of friends and family to my blog. It makes me a bit uncomfortable to be honest. I didn’t share it to be the center of attention, what I’m doing is nothing extraordinary or brave. I just don’t have any other choice. There are many people struggling much harder than I am. There are alone in their struggle or face much harsher realities than just losing a breast that a very talented plastic surgeon will put back together when it’s all over with. But when I first learned about my cancer I had so many questions, and so little answers. I needed to know what to expect, what my boob was going to look like, how long it was going to take to heal. I know everyone’s experience is extremely personal. No one has the same cancer. If by sharing my experience just one person thinks about getting a mammogram, or feels a little more normal going through their own experience, then I’ve done my job. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the lump I found was actually benign. The two cancerous lumps were too far in my breast to actually be felt, so if I hadn’t gone to check them out, who knows what stage it would have been by the time I discovered it.
So again, I am so touched and moved that so many people have reached out to me after reading my blog. But I am no one special. I’m not trying to be humble; it’s just true. My experience is happening to millions of woman (and men) every year and in many cases, their results are much harder to deal with. I have every resource and support system in the world at my beck and call.
For me personally, 35 was a mid-life crisis of sorts, even before I was diagnosed. And having something like this really shakes you and makes you think, if this is it, am I happy with it? Bucket lists aren’t for 75 year old men with terminal illnesses. Telling the people you love the most shouldn’t be saved just for a Hallmark holiday. Moving on from a grudge or finally putting yourself first shouldn’t be a special occasion. Getting a mohawk and rocking the nose hoop shouldn’t be reserved just because you’ll be losing all your hair anyway. And getting a mammogram or convincing a friend to do so shouldn’t be reserved for your 40th birthday. We all think of New Years as the time of resolutions, resolutions that last about 2 weeks before you slide back into status quo. My resolution for the year is to realize that every day is a chance to do it better. And to appreciate the overabundance of gifts that fill my every day: the love of my family and friends, the power of a good song, and the taste of fricking cantaloupe. God that shit gets better with every bite. And of course, and perhaps most importantly, I HAVE A NIPPLE. It’s a pretty big deal.
Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson