Last Friday, a reporter for the local newspaper asked if he could interview me for a story about the upcoming Relay for Life (May 14-15). We made arrangements to meet this weekend at a restaurant and we met this morning. I work at City Hall so know Robert from his coverage of City Council committee meetings that I staff. During treatment and afterwards, Robert would inquire about my hair. He had shared that his mother had gone through cancer treatments and when her hair grew back with the baby soft curls, he loved touching it. Whenever we saw each other, he’d ask about my hair. To me, it was a way of saying “How are you?”
Driving to the restaurant this morning, tears started coming. What the heck? I hurriedly put on some positive and uplifting music to sing along with (in key, Cousin Kim), in an attempt to release whatever anxiety or fears that was causing the tears. I didn’t have time to think and process the feelings as I was just 2 minutes from the restaurant. Put your big girl panties on and suck it up! Here’s your chance to tell your story and help other women. Deep breath, big smile in place as we sat down in the booth.
And more tears started. Dagnabbit! I felt comfortable with Robert so explained that I cry when I’m sad, angry, happy, tired, frustrated, etc. Those who know me or have read this blog, know that tears are a part of me.
We talked about how the doctor informed me that the biopsy was cancer. How I told my daughters and their reactions. We talked about the hair loss and the emotions behind that. How I felt the need to reassure everyone that I was going to be okay, so they wouldn’t be fearful or scared. Talked about Vic’s diagnosis and who was going to have surgery first. It was tough – it was reliving a time that was pretty damn scary and out of our control.
We also talked about the positives – with tears of course. How the City employees donated their leave so I could have a full paycheck while in treatment. How the Mayor’s assistant, now my “breast friend”, created a place for me to rest on lunch breaks. My department colleagues wearing pink the day before the first surgery. How Vic was been the best care giver anyone could ever ask for – sitting outside the MRI tube holding my hands. The breast cancer blogging buddies and support system.
After our meeting, we drove down to the stadium/track where the Relay for Life is held for photographs. Robert, if you are reading this, please remember, you need to make me look young, tan, and thin. Thank you very much.
On my lunch hour walks, I go past this track frequently. It brings no emotions when doing so. But as I walked up to the track today, I had a split second of nostalgia and pride. Remembering the feelings of walking the first lap as a survivor and the symbol, to me, that treatment was over. I had won the first round. Remembering Victor walking the 2nd lap for caregivers; pride that he was a caregiver and the sadness that he was a caregiver. The 3rd lap and luminaries for my breast cancer blogging buddies. Pride that we made it through another year despite disappointments that we haven’t received the “no signs of malignancy” report. We’ll get there, eventually.
I hugged the Relay for Life banner that was hung across the cyclone fencing. It was a hug of “Hey! Remember me? I’m still here!” It was also a hug of thanksgiving. Thankful that the doctor’s haven’t written the word “malignant” in their reports. Thankful that Victor is my husband and hasn’t dumped me on the side of the road when I’ve been at my worse. I wouldn’t have blamed him at all if he did! Thankful that I have supportive brothers, sis-in-laws, cousins and daughters. Thankful that there is a network support of breast cancer blogging buddies.