“I’m sorry but there was cancer present”

My two year old was in his high chair eating cheerios and watching Big Bird on Sesame Street. My newborn was sleeping peacefully next to his big brother.

“This cannot be happening”.

The world stopped spinning in that moment. What do you do with that information? I am 26 years old and I have breast cancer.

That was twenty three years ago and I look back on what could have been and I am immensely grateful. I was given the opportunity to see many of my dreams realized and the further from the diagnosis I get, the more plans for the future that I make. Breast cancer changes you. It teaches you that there is a limit to how much of this life you get, no matter who you are, and you should use it wisely.

At the beginning I was just afraid everything would end too soon. I held my breath waiting for test results and prayed constantly that I had done enough by eating right and exercising and following my doctor’s instructions. Enough that I would be able to stay on this earth just a little while longer, with my boys, and be their mom.

I took obnoxious amounts of videos and pictures to document my time here. I was so afraid I would be erased or forgotten. I also used those pictures to focus on when I was scared or feeling too tired to “fight”. Those pictures were my motivation to keep going and not give up.  ”

These are more pictures for my babies, more pictures with your mommy, don’t forget me…”

As time passed I got greedier with my hopes and dreams. I wanted more time, more milestones to celebrate, and more goals to be achieved. I continued to go to school and work towards my degree. I took mid-day naps so I was able to have energy to watch my boys play sports after school. I cried when they graduated from pre-school, grade school, high school and college. I thanked God fervently for allowing me to experience these “little things” that I feared I would never be able to witness.

My two year old got married this past June. My infant bought his first house. I am married to a saint. I am healthy. I am one of the lucky ones. I am a survivor.

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