I had to go back and see exactly how long it’s been, and I’m now at 14 months and counting since I took my mom to a doctor’s appointment and the resident obviously mistook me for a 62 year old, because I was the one who looked like a cancer patient. (Yes, this still smarts, likely wrapped up with the part where I just turned 40) It’s funny, because at the time, I was starting to forget that I looked like I’d had chemo, because it had been long enough since my last session that I felt like I was past it.
Now, however, I seem to have the opposite problem. I keep forgetting that with my normal looking (unless you know that I never had curls) hair, and boobs, that not everyone looks at me and thinks, “Oh, she’s a breast cancer survivor.” In general this is a good thing, but in the last month or so, I find myself inadvertently dropping the “C-bomb” on people.
I use phrases like, “when I was bald” or “with my new boobs” or even, “when I was going through chemo.” I mentioned that I enjoy writing and I’ve found that a focused message leads to better engagement… “Oh, what’s your blog.” Me: “I’m at BreastCancerNinja.com”
Wheeew, ka-pow. (Imagine a whistle & explosion noise… as a boy mom, I make the sounds better than I write them)
I don’t mean to drop bombs, I really don’t. But I just see this as a matter of fact for me. And my oversharing tendencies may exacerbate this. I’m an open book. So when I feel like you can tell things by looking at me, like the fact that I’m 40, been married forever, mom of a genius, struggle with my weight, super slow triathlete, breast cancer survivor. It’s all tattooed on my forehead, right? Because if you don’t find out by me opening my mouth, it’s not because I’m not willing to share, it’s that I don’t think you give a flying rip.
On the FLIP side (or is it the flip-flip side since I was talking about the opposite problem before?) those people who DO know, still seem much more worried about me than I think they should be. I’ve been having more problems with an upper respiratory thing that I’ve been fighting for the last 3 weeks than I have with any other health issues lately. When I saw my doc over the kid’s spring break, we couldn’t even think of any good questions for him. He explained what’s going on with the menopause (I’m literally on the line, so I’ll likely go back off of Tamoxifen when he checks my blood again in 3 months) and otherwise, there’s just not much to say.
Although I will always have to be careful in the future, it’s not totally wrong for me to talk about cancer in the past tense. And it’s a pretty good bet that I’m going to keep talking about it, whether it feels like I’m dropping bombs or not.
One last cool thing to share, my awesome friend Kristin shared this with me last week, and since touching myself likely saved my life, I’m totally behind #ITouchMyselfProject. Like the Bright Pink Lipstick day, it’s Australian in origin, but so easy to get behind here in the US, and all over the world. Do click the link. It’s really pretty awesome.
I love your writing and blog and I totally appreciate the courage you have to share everything. Being an open book is courageous and it makes me feel normal to see another person struggle with things I struggle with.