The other night I was sitting with my son Nick, crying quietly as he sat on my lap and he must have heard my sniffles because he turned to me and asked, “Mommy, do you have a boo boo?” I simply responded, “Yes, bud. I do.” And in his three year old innocence he responded, “Mommy, I have Doc McStuffins Bandaids and you can have one. It will make the boo boo go away.” And the tears started to flow.
|What I am Fighting For|
Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t it be a gift to have that innocence or the capability to make all the boo- boos go away with a little kiss and a band-aid? Of course though, that isn’t really how life works. Some of our best laid out plans take a back seat to the boo-boos.
Recently, February 10th 2014 to be exact, I received the news. While holding my husband’s hand and sitting on the floor of my workout room the nurse, Carol, called to confirm that the biospy revealed the cancer- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I don’t know that there are really words that prepare you for the news. I don’t know if there is a correct way to react or a protocol of sorts, but I can tell you that as I sit here writing this, I have seen my life completely change. In only four days, my life has become consumed by doctor’s appointments, scans, treatments, tests, insurance calls, cancelling plans (still having a hard time accepting that there will be no cruise in March) and tears. Lots and lots of tears.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the journey ahead. Right now, the road ahead looks long, dark and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I didn’t know how to approach this (again, if there is a cancer protocol, let me know because I really am new to this). In fact in the darkest hours right after we got the news, I found myself fearing three things:
1. Not seeing my sons grow up
2. Losing my hair
3. Being a topic of conversation
I agonized over those three fears for hours. I spent a lot of time crying over them and thinking about how much all of the above mean to me. And after agonizing and crying about it, here’s what I came to realize. As a self prescribed control freak- NOTHING I DO WILL ALLOW ME TO CONTROL THESE SITUATIONS. NOTHING.
So with that being said and more importantly accepted, here is how I am dealing with each of these fears.
1. I WILL FIGHT. I will do everything in my power to be a part of the my children’s lives. I will be at the bus stop to pick up Nick from his first day of Kindergarten. I will see Dom take his first steps and I will see both of my sons graduate, get married, and raise their own family. But if God selects another plan for me- my job, as their mom, is to be a part of their life NOW. I want to leave a legacy where they will always know that I am a fighter. I am strong and being healthy, positive, and kind is imprinted into who they will become.
2. So, this came in a moment of weakness. I couldn’t sleep and found myself in a world that was spinning out of my control. I was aching and needing control. (It’s in my DNA- I have a problem.) I grabbed the scissors, ran up the stairs, and begged Mike to cut my hair off. It felt heavy and it was all that I could think about. I felt like, if I cut it, cancer couldn’t take it. Lots of tears later, we decided to get the hair cut. I am donating it to Children with Hairloss, so TAKE THAT CANCER. Hair grows, and of course I worry about what Mike will think, but after the week we’ve had, I don’t think we’ve ever been more in love. And I’m pretty sure he’ll think my bald head is pretty BAD ASS.
3. This one is probably the hardest one to write about because as you are reading this, it likely is applying to you or someone you know. When I found out I had cancer, the first thing I thought was that a mistake had been made. I mean, I know it’s shocking for anybody who receive the news, but for myself, I am the spitting image of health. I mean really??? I am a health coach! How does this happen to the person who is the spitting image of health?
Well, cancer happens. It can happen to anybody. It doesn’t limit itself to one type of person, an age or a gender. Honestly, I don’t know why it happened to me, yet. I don’t know that I ever will. I know that I eat right, I exercise, and I truly take care of my body. I do, however, know this. I am strong. I know that even in this stage, my immune system should not be this strong. My symptoms, the ones most associated with Lyphoma, do not exist. Why? Because I am healthy. I know this is a good sign. I know my health is what is going to get me through this a stronger person than I was yesterday. So, yes. I am a health coach. And yes, I HAVE CANCER. But I am healthy, and I will continue to lead a healthy lifestyle as the days ahead get harder.
So if for some reason, you find comfort in talking to others about my cancer. I sincerely hope that your conversation include words like: FIERCE, STRONG, FIGHTER, IN THE BAG, BEAUTIFUL, POSITIVE, MOTIVATIONAL. But if you find yourself saying things like: those poor boys, or I feel so bad…SAVE IT. Because those boys are gonna know what a strong woman is. And I am blessed everyday that I can watch them grow.
My promise to you is to be honest about my journey, positive when all I want to do is be negative (because that is a hell of a lot easier) and I will continue to be a role model of health (even if my bald head tells you otherwise). If you expect that I will stop talking about my passion for Beachbody, P90X or shakeology, I won’t. I am still a health coach. I just happen to have cancer.
In exchange, I ask that you please share my story with anyone you know who may benefit (and if you’re a survivor, I would love any tips/advice!) and never, ever pity me. Because pity means you’ve thrown in the towel, and I sure as shit am not gonna do that.