Tuesday, June 21, 2011

to fight or not to fight?

A year ago this week I received the call that flipped my world upside down, and not just my world--the world of many others whose lives I am part of.  Early last summer Scott and I were trying to start a family, then cancer hit.  This summer we are celebrating 1, then 2, then 3 mile walks, sleeping through the night, laughter, each other, and being able to watch a movie without having to worry about germs (nasty theater popcorn, welcome to my belly)!!!!!

Take a minute, close your eyes, and imagine what you would do.  Not if cancer fell in your lap, but if something stopped you dead in your tracks, you had to reevaluate every priority you could think of.   I have powered through the past year because there was no choice--well one choice--to fight or not to fight?  The day I found a lump, I felt like I was punched in the stomach, I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I sat against the cold bathroom wall (little did I know that would be a familiar place for me in the coming months) and cried hysterically.  The odds of it being cancer were unbelievably small (again, little did I know) but I had a feeling--and I was going to fight.  Everyone reassured me that it would be nothing, but I wasn't believing it. That day my life changed, and has continued to change every day since. I am not the person I was a year ago, I remember her like recalling a dream, the things that I took for granted, things I did without a second thought, the path I set out for my life and how it veered so sharply I almost lost myself.

But I found me. 
Here are a few things I learned along the way.....

1.  life happens, whether you are in it or not
2.  love can cure anything, or at least hold your hair back and help you with the potty-business
3.  not all mammals have nipples (case in point = me.)
4.  vacuuming should be a celebration
5.  there is nothing wrong with cheeseburgers at 4am when it is the only thing you have ate in days    (also okay to wake someone up to bring them to you)
6.  if your partner is a heavy sleeper, get a spray bottle, and squirt him in the face to wake him up so he can carry you to the bathroom (I really wish I would have thought of that months ago!!)
7.  insomnia can be a time to reevaluate what is keeping you up at night
8.  food is over-rated
9.  nature is beautiful (yep, take that!)
10.  you can't thank people enough, ever. (do it daily, for anything)
11.  you find out who your friends are
12.  your world view changes
13.  "bloaty" has got nothing on a chemo belly (my stretch marks are proof--I gave birth to a new, cancer free me!)
14.  hair is a security blanket-no matter how tough you think you are.
15.  it is okay to hide under the covers (as long as there is something to coax you out at some point)
16.  positive thoughts of others go directly to your heart
17.  people need a voice
18.  lady parts aren't all they are cracked up to be
19.  appreciation for everything, and not in a rose-colored classes type of way, just pure solidarity in appreciation
20.  my wit is an acquired taste, like smelly cheese or 2 buck chuck
21.  when you try to hold back tears, your eyes burn, it isn't worth it--let 'er rip!
22.  family is the fuel for life--and mine gives me a kick in the ass when needed!
23.  coming from a small town is the most unexpected gift I have ever received
24.  sweating is a right of passage, no matter how you look at it
25.  meditation is the opportunity to find the self you lost


  1. Those are some great lessons! I love #3 especially as I too am a nipple-less mammal! I also celebrate vacuuming and carrying groceries into the house. Simple things that I wasn't able to do not so long ago.

  2. LOVE this posting, Dori! You have a special insight, something we who have been touched by cancer have. Love your list of lessons. And do fake nipples make me nipple-less?

  3. I started reading your blog back when you first started posting but, sadly, stopped reading around November. Between yesterday evening and today, I am fully caught up. Your fight is/was amazing. I will take your lessons to heart. I will get regular screenings. I will (and have) shared your blog with every woman I know. You are amazing.

  4. Loved these lessons. Thank you, for sharing the last year with us. Hugs.