My oldest was off to Middle School and my youngest kids were still in Elementary School, but my life hadn’t changed much. My routine was the same as it was the year before minus potential hospital stays. I was still recovering from my BRCA+ journey of multiple surgeries, but the life I had been living was about the same with maybe a little less chaos since the kids were all in school fulltime (Finally! Can I get an Amen?). However, this darkness started to consume me when I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t plan on having to pick a side, but the dark was drowning out the light. I felt lost and didn’t know how to cope. Until an unexpected opportunity came into my life.
Over a year ago, I started my surgery journey based on my risks as defined by my BRCA2 gene mutation. It wasn’t an easy set of decisions and the path was most definitely not straight.
If you’ve been following my story, you are painfully aware of the sorrows and setbacks I encountered in the fall of 2016. Since my last update, I have had another round of reconstruction surgery and one scheduled for the fall of 2017. Here is what I have learned, hopefully it helps you or helps you help someone else. Love to all.
When my kids were younger, I barely went to the pool because I was a) ashamed of my body (for heaven’s sake I birthed 3 children in the span of five years, that should be celebrated, not shamed by society standards…but that is a different post for a different day) and b) I was outnumbered 3 to 1.
You better believe that I was only going to the pool if another friend was braving it with me or I dragged my husband along.
But that is where looking back, I was so wrong. I should have gone to the damn pool.
Today, I will celebrate the brave mommas everywhere that are doing the hard job. Suiting up and going swimming with their kids.
Whenever I am feeling lost or in need of direction I do one of three things: call my mom, drink wine with my girlfriends, or go to the library. I needed some insight so a trip to the library was in order! With three kids in tow, we made our rounds through the children’s department and finally ended up at the Self-Help shelves for me.
Have you ever had the problem of having too many options? Having endless opportunities? Having the ability to go in any direction and accomplish any goal? I am talking about both big and small goals. It’s a real problem for me. I know that sounds like I am whining, but it’s really a big deal. And yes, I realize this is a total first world problem, but hear me out because you might see yourself in me.
When I was a kid, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I had two, very specific dreams.
The Human Experience.
We are all a part of it. We all want to be involved, make a difference, do something that matters, be recognized, and sometimes do nothing. You can choose to sit idly by or get up and get something done, but none of that really matters when you look at humanity across the globe and across time.
To me, the human experience isn’t what we do. It is in who we are and how we connect with others. It’s in the vulnerable moments that keep us honest and open to each other. Being vulnerable is open to interpretation. In one form, it means putting yourself out there in a way that could draw criticism or a divide between you and a good friend, your lover, close social circles and even across social media.
If you walk into my house, you’ll be greeted by a cheerful entryway and a clean and tidy front room and dining room. However, if one were to gaze past the comfy couch, you would find my mess. It’s not always like this, but about every three months or so life just seems to “pile-up” in the form of papers, unfinished projects, art supplies, books, teaching materials, bills and receipts to file, notes, my kids’ school papers, old to-do lists, and remnants of unfinished plans, and more.
Here it is, in all it’s ugly and messy glory…
As this year comes to a close, I have come to the realization that although parts of 2016 totally sucked. Not all of it did. Before the promise of a new year rolls around, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what I learned from 2016. You better believe that my New Years Resolutions will include fun and fewer hospital stays than 2016 permitted!
My oldest daughter is struggling. She is struggling with all the normal things of being a tall, ten year old girl in the fifth grade, mostly involving living in her own skin and being comfortable in it. Those conversations are hard and body image has been a struggle of my own since I was about the same age. I was just like my own daughter- a tall, ten year old girl in the fifth grade, and I’ll never forget the names people called me or the references they made around me.
To say I was a nervous wreck that first day in the hospital, is an understatement. I was so down and throwing myself a big ol’ pity party…but that’s not really my style. I promised myself that I would only focus on the positive. There are moments that I get totally discouraged and wonder why this happened. I know that it is a combination of many things. But I also know that I can’t do anything about what happened except move forward, learn from it, inform others, and reach out to those around me to pay their kindness forward.