When I was 8 years old, I knew I would get breast cancer. It was 1972 and my gramma had just had a mastectomy. They wouldn't let me see her, so I pitched a fit in the hospital lobby. Go figure, I was a Drama Queen even back then.
Once they let me to see her, I asked her why she was in the hospital. She explained about breast cancer and how they removed her breast and that she would fine. I asked her if I would get it some day, and she replied honestly by saying yes.
In 1994 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now I knew it was a lock that I would get it. I hoped and prayed it would be me and not my sister, who at the time had two young daughters. I just knew that some day was drawing closer and closer.
Some day came in April of 2013. It was one week before opening night of the school musical. I was teaching all day, and in rehearsals until 8 or 9 o'clock at night. In the past I have embodied the labels of perfectionist, anal-retentive, high standards, and pushing myself and others for the best result. It works. And the productions are amazing because theatre is magic in my world.
You really think you know how you will handle news like that phone call, but really, you don't. Shock? Of course. Disappointment? You bet. And then, how do I tell people? How do I drive home from rehearsal and tell my husband? How do I care about this production? How do I even move from where I am sitting at this moment?
My primary doctor called me on my cell phone and gave me the news. She shared her cell phone number and even volunteered to drive to my school, and drive me home. Love her!
Upon arriving home, I remember telling my husband the news in very matter of fact terms and then burying my head in my hands and sobbing while he held me.
The next few weeks were a blur as I went through the motions of carrying around this information and getting through the day.
The production was a success. The kids did an amazing job. I told the cast and crew and some close friends and my family. It was surreal.
This is not a club or sisterhood I ever wanted to join. It is almost like living in a parallel universe of before and after the diagnosis. So many women in my life, from close, dear friends, to associates and acquaintances have come forth with their stories and solidarity. I am blessed beyond belief to have the support, love, prayers, encouragement, and karma that I do. It has all helped me remain positive, and even in my darkest moments, allowed me to wallow in self-pity for a short amount of time, and then move forward.
This blog is really about my granddaughter Abby though. Read the next blog to find out more about how inspiring and uplifting one five-year old can be!