Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cuz she's my Cuz, and she beat Cancer.

I'm one of the youngest of about a billion cousins, so unfortunately most of them grew up without me.  I'm finding out now how pretty awesome they are.  No one has had a lot of interest in me cause I just barely started being awesome in the last year or so.

Amber is definitely one of the awesomest. She is a fighter and a survivor.
Have you joined the fight?

I asked Amber to write a little somethin' for my blog and she (because like I said, she's awesome) obliged.  So listen up nuggets! (And oh my nerdiest reference I have ever made.  Please tell me you don't know what that is from or I'll die of embarrassment.)

I was five months shy of my 29th birthday when I received news that rocked my world.  The large lump in my right breast wasn’t a cyst.  It wasn’t a clogged milk duct.  It was a cancerous tumor.  And it wasn’t alone.  In fact, it had several nasty friends, throughout my breast, and they were plotting my demise.

 The surreal feeling that followed that revelation never did really leave.  Today, 8+ years later, it still seems strange to me that I’m one of those “one in eight” women that we’re always hearing about.  But I am.  

Several things have occurred to me since embarking on my cancer experience.  I’d like to share a handful of them.

First of all, it occurred to me that we really, really, REALLY need to be careful what we wish for.  I was an overly busty girl who always wished I could get a breast reduction.  Boy, did I get my reduction! 

Second, it occurred to me we’re, each of us, more than just a sum of our parts.  My amazing husband was key to putting that fact into perspective for me.  His unconditional love and devotion carried me through the emotional turmoil of the flat chest and the bald eyebrows and the shiny head.  He saw ME.  He helped me to see ME, too.  In turn, I now try to see others as they really are, not just as a sum of what I can see…their parts, but as a whole, divine creature.

Third, it occurred to me that there’s a certain coolness about having had breast cancer, especially having it so young.  Pink ribbons are trendy.  Facebook makes the news for breast cancer awareness gimmicks.  Celebrities have famously battled the disease.  We even have our own month.  Breast cancer awareness is hip!   I love it.  I hate it.

 I love it because I own stock in it, now.  I’m invested.  If they find a cure, I won’t have to worry about my daughters (I have 3) or my sisters (I have 4) or my other much-loved women (I have hundreds!) having to go through what I did.  I wouldn’t have to worry about it coming back.  That would be nice.

I hate it because I know SO many people who have struggled with cancer…skin cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer, brain cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, testicular cancer, oh, and a handful with breast cancer.  I hate that breast cancer seems to be THE cancer, the popular cancer that gets all the attention.  Cancer is Cancer.  All cancer is scary.  One in three people will get it in their lifetime.  I wish we could take the enthusiasm surrounding breast cancer awareness and support and apply it universally to ALL cancer.  I’m so grateful for events like the ACS Relay for Life.  It’s an event where no particular cancer is in the lime light.  We unite and battle ALL cancer, and celebrate ALL survivors.

Finally, it occurred to me that I don’t mind being a survivor.  Having cancer was a scary, difficult experience, but it’s one of many experiences that have made me who I am.  I wouldn’t undo it if I could.  Also, I have to admit…I got a pretty nice rack out of the deal.  Yes, they’re fake, but I don’t mind.  I actually really want someone to comment on them, some day so I can quote an awesome t-shirt I once saw: “Yes, they’re fake.  My real ones tried to kill me!”  I don’t mind that I no longer get the sore shoulders and back that my double E’s used to give me.  I don’t mind that gravity has lost some of its pull on “the girls”.  I don’t mind that I’m still alive and kicking.  I don’t mind that I am able to watch my two little girls become two beautiful young women.  I don’t mind that I was able to (with a little help from my hubby) bring three more gorgeous, brilliant, lively, wonderful children into our family.  I don’t mind that I savor life just a little bit more than I used to.  It’s a good life. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amber I love you! Thank you for sharing this. It is truly awesome! Not a Stalker just your cousin. But, I am going to make you guess which one.