Each step in this process is what I call Step One. Getting the lymph nodes looked at, Step One. Getting the lymph nodes removed, Step One. Getting the diagnosis of cancer, Step One.
This Friday I come to my new Step One. Mastectomy. And then I wait for my next Step One - pathology. Did they find the primary so that I can move on to my new Step One - chemo.
I know that sounds like I'm not moving forward, by always being at Step One but I prefer to look at it differently. Each Step One I pass is now Past. I will not linger on it. I'm not lingering on finding the lumps in my armpit, I'm not linger on the last surgery, I'm not lingering on diagnosis.....I'm looking ahead, not back. So by counting the surgery as Step 4 I'm allowing myself to see a Step One, Two or Three. Not acceptable.
Step One is almost here.
So, I've got nearly everything in place for my new normal. I've got my employment insurance worked out (and say what you will about Government workers but the woman I spoke to on the phone about my government sick benefits nearly had me in tears with her encouraging words) I've yet to be able to reach anyone within the school board to notify them of my sick leave. It appears no one knows how to return phone calls. I'll keep harassing them. I've collected my personal items from school (and my resources, which I was going to leave there but decided not to because I suspect they'd be lost or *borrowed* by the time I get back.) I've got 8 books on my Kobo and 1 1/2 paperback books to read. I'm going to call the mastectomy bra store today to find out when they recommend I come for a fitting. I'm as ready as I can be for something like this.
I was talking to my Great Aunt yesterday (also a breast cancer survivor!) and she'd mentioned to me that the Patron Saint of Cancer Patients is St. Peregrine. So when I got off the phone with her I went over to our local Catholic book store and bought a St Peregrine medal to put on my bracelet, right along side my hope, believe and Miraculous Mary medal. I wanted to buy a novena too but they didn't have any so I'm going to print the one from the internet and laminate it.
I've been thinking a lot about the Relay for Life. My mom and I had been planning to try to get a bowling fundraising event together this fall and then our Spring Tea in the spring (naturally - haha) but obviously the bowling won't be happening. I'm sure there will be lots of time for me to sew when I'm home during treatments and the kids are all at school. I don't intend to lie around in bed (though I'm sure sometimes I'll want to) But then, a stroke of genius hit me.
I had told the girls that I was going to have a head shaving party when I started my chemo. I told them they could do the honours of shaving my head. (you see, from a psychological standpoint, if my hair falls out on it's own, I won't handle it well - but if I beat it to the punch and do it myself...) Sean told me that he's going to stop cutting his hair and shaving a la Movember and won't cut/shave until I do. My brother Shaun also told me he's going to shave his head for me (granted neither one of them has a ton of hair - it's the solidarity that speaks)
So, I've decided to make this party a fundraiser. I'm going to invite everyone I know. For $10 they can come, enjoy some yummy snacks and drinks and the highlight of the party will be the head shave. Oh, and here's the really fun part...for anyone who is interested in shaving their heads also - the $10 fee is waived.
So even if I only have 10 people show up, I can raise $100 for our Relay. And I have way more than 10 people just in my immediate family!
I'm excited about this, I'm looking forward to having something to celebrate and since the Relay has become even more personal to me (as if it weren't personal enough already) I'll feel like I'm still doing my part.
But for today, I plan to ignore cancer, spend the day at the beach with my family and enjoy life.
Have a great day!