I try to approach every situation with an open mind and an open heart, something that can be difficult for me at times. I am a very passionate and opinionated person, two traits that can get in my trouble sometimes. But I am also very loyal and caring, and will do anything to support the people I love and care about. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now, and decided that instead of writing every post about the great things going on in my life, I needed to be honest and share all of me, not just the good stuff. Reading blogs where people seem perfect, is great, but really unrealistic and unrelatable after a while. So here’s a little bit of why my posts have been less frequent.
Three weeks ago today, I was on the phone with my hubby on my way home from work. He was at the station on a 24-hour shift, so we usually try to talk during the drive on those days. He mentioned that my mom had called him and he wondered what for. We had plans to go to their house the next day so I thought she was probably just calling to see what veggies we could get from our community garden to eat with dinner. Since I was hitting the spot in my drive where I loose reception, I told him to call her and I’d call him once I got to a better spot. When I called him back he acted a little off, but I just thought he seemed distracted. We talked the rest of the way home and I told him I’d give him a call later after dinner.
When I hung up the phone with him I noticed my mom had sent me a text that said “call me when you get home”. I dialed her number immediately and could tell by her voice when she said hello that something was wrong. She had found out that my Aunt had breast cancer. Honestly, I was in shock. Between tears, and anger, and fear, I tried to comfort my mom as best I could. She is her younger sister, if you didn’t know any better, her twin, and her sibling she practically raised. Once it sunk in a bit, I started to get really scared.
Cancer has been too close to my life the last few years. My grandma was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer exactly a month after my wedding, and passed away less than two months after that. I spent the last year and a half working for the American Cancer Society, where cancer was a part of my life every day. I’ve seen people struggle, and triumph, and be defeated. While I search for words to explain how I’m feeling, I’m just left with a childhood feeling of it’s not fair. It’s easy to sit and think about the prognosis and her treatment plan, but I think it’s important to focus on the fact that we are all here now and we have an opportunity to fight this. Since her diagnosis, I have spent a lot of time thinking about life and what’s important. My Aunt is a fighter, and ready to tackle this obstacle and get on with her life. Its uplifting and powerful to see her strength and determination, and it makes me look at life so much different.
This is me at the Breast Cancer Walk in Portland this past May while working for the American Cancer Society
The last three weeks we’ve spent countless hours waiting for news, and anxiously reading emails. My Aunt is only 48 and has no children. My brother and I are like their kids. They just moved to Chicago, and are about 2500 miles away from us. This distance feels huge in times like these. Our family has spread out a lot the past few years, and its situations like these that make me really miss the closeness. I am thankful for the time I have gotten to spend with them growing up, and look forward to the good times ahead. I was lucky enough to get to spend a few days with them in May at my cousin’s wedding, and I am so glad I did! No matter how close or how far apart we are, our family will continue to love and support each other through any obstacle.
This is my Aunt and Uncle with Dan and I at my Cousin's wedding in Colorado
While I know this topic isn’t inspirational, uplifting, or creative…. Writing about my feelings and my life help me process things. After spending the last year working with Cancer Survivors, Caregivers, and people just wanting to make a difference, I know how important the support and understanding can be. Every journey through cancer is different, and I hope my Aunt’s is a positive one, but support and positivity is key. So far we know she’s stage 3. They have already started her treatment process, and we are trying to be the best support system we can be from afar. My family is amazing, and I am so thankful for their love and relationships. We will get through this, and we will do it together!
We are each wearing positivity bracelets to remind ourselves to think of the good memories and keep a positive outlook. Having people there to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to make you laugh are so important in situations like these. Look what my sweet hubby left for me this morning. I am so lucky to have someone who constantly makes me smile! I’m thankful for the friends and family around me, and for the support system I have! Thanks for letting me share and reflect on these past few weeks.