I am not ashamed that I had breast cancer.
I am not upset that I had breast cancer.
I was not trying to hide having breast cancer.
But I did want to keep the topics I post here pretty relevant to the theme.
Well, it's a new year and I find that I have much more to talk about than just design and parties. I have feelings that range from elation to frustration, joy to pain, and everything in between. There are days when I am on it, and my head can work the way I'd like it to without my heart jumping in front and stopping me in my tracks. And there are plenty of days when that is not the case at all.
Up until now, I have kept my cancer life away from my design life as much as possible. But it's time I accept that those two things intertwine much more than you would think. I'ts time to GET REAL! So, my plan is to start writing from the heart. To keep my entire life: health, family, and business - all in once place. I hope you'll take the journey with me.
To start, I want to talk about my life AFTER beating breast cancer. I know what you're thinking: "Why not start from the beginning?" The answer to that: Today, I just don't feel like it. And that is OK.
Maybe someday I'll go back and update those of you who don't know my story. And if you really are itching to find out, you can read this beautiful blog post my dear friend Tina of Life Is A Highway Photography put together last year, when I was in the thick of it.
But for today, I want to talk about today.
Today I am: frustrated, sad, and asking why? Not, "Why did I get breast cancer?" But, "Why did I not just take some time to make some of my decisions, when I had the chance?" If you have ever dealt with this disease or any other like it, you may have had to make some pretty tough decisions throughout. For me: a crazy control freak who doesn't like for my life to be out of order (there, I said it!) - I did a lot of deciding on the spot. I did what I thought I had to do. But my frustration and sadness is a result of not taking time to make those decisions. Not taking time for myself, to see if I was truly comfortable with them. Not taking time to talk to my close friends and family, to make sure I was making sense in the path I chose for myself. And most of all, not talking to a professional counselor with knowledge about the road I was about to tread on: REGRET.
You see, I made the decision to go ahead with chemotherapy without giving much thought to my fertility. At the time I wasn't in a relationship, was a single mother trying to get by on a little paycheck, and had an even littler bank account. So my first thought was money: "How would I pay for something like fertility treatments and egg retrievals and cryopreservation?" Insurance won't pay for things like that. They would pay for my new boobs, but not pay to make sure that I could have the chance to bear anymore children. There are foundations and grants available for assistance, but I honestly didn't think about them at that moment sitting in my oncologist's office.
My second thought (having been through fertility treatments to conceive my son): "Am I asking God for too much?" Was I about to be exceptionally selfish in asking for life to babies I had no idea if I would ever have the chance to conceive, when he was already saving me? I had already asked to be here to watch my little boy grow up. How could I possibly ask to have to the chance to have another baby when I had no boyfriend, no husband, no interested party at that moment? How would anyone want to share a life with someone who had gone through what I was about to: all cut up like ceviche and at high risk for recurrence? I figured my best chance was to start chemotherapy immediately, and booked an appointment for the following week.
That gave a me a week to really think, and I didn't. That gave me a week to talk it over, and I didn't. That gave me a week to seek the opinion of several professionals: counselors, therapists, gynecologists - and I didn't.
Regret is the worst possible form of torture, I'm convinced. And so today I'm sad, frustrated, and angry.
Maybe tomorrow I will feel better. I know I do a little from writing this to you - just a little.