While I am going through this process I have really been able to see what is really important in life. I have always known that family is important but, I have to say that there are other people in my life that have been my biggest support through everything. I think that I have said this before but, the path my life has taken has happened when it was supposed to. I worked with Dr. Soriano for almost 2 years, he taught me so much, not just in my career but also how to be a compassionate, caring, appreciative, positive person. I feel that while working in surgical oncology, I have met some of the most amazing people that have fought a serious fight against cancer. Seeing the battles people fight on a daily basis, really put my problems in perspective. The complaints about your child putting stickers on the windows inside the car, your children using sidewalk chalk in the garage, your kids eating in the car and making messes (yes all of these annoying and can make a mess) but, all of these things can be cleaned or reversed. Or I would worry about things that are not in my control, after sitting and thinking about my “problems”, I would realize how petty these things were. I had patients that were sitting through a weekend waiting for a Monday afternoon appointment to see if their cancer is back or waiting to get surgery, their first day of chemotherapy or an appointment to meet with the nurse practicioner at the Breast Center to get their results from a breast biopsy. These results all can change the lives of not only of the patient but the family as well.
One month after I started my current job as a Clinical Research Assistant (I work mainly in cancer research), my mom had her bilateral preventative mastectomy. Two months after starting my job, I was diagnosed with CHEK2. I was given information regarding a clinical research registry study called PROMPT, http://promptstudy.info/about-us/ .The objective of the registry study is to follow people and their families with mutations or variants in genes on these panels, so that patients, physicians, and researchers can more clearly understand these lesser-known risks. Even though our facility doesn’t run this study, I passionately talk to patients about how important this study is and give them information on how to sign up for the study. If it wasn’t for research about these genes, the information that we know so far wouldn’t be available and I truly believe that I would have eventually been a breast cancer patient. A friend told me that my motto should be, “Don’t fuck with me cancer.” Along with myself and all the other previvors in the world we are giving the middle finger to cancer. I know that it doesn’t totally take my risk away but I sure the hell have a lot less breast tissue than I did before, which means a lower risk of getting breast cancer than before.
This whole process has been worth every single feeling that I have felt. I have felt sad, happy, depressed, confused, crazy, and frustrated (I could keep going with any of the other feelings and I am sure I felt them all). I talk about ME all the time but this last surgery (tissue expander placement) I noticed really the affect it has had on my boys as well. Lucas was a mess the week I went back to work. Bless the hearts of his amazing teachers, Ms. Michelle and Ms. Jolene. I can’t thank them enough for not locking him in a room but being understanding of what he was going through. He is 5 years old and doesn’t understand why he is sad or frustrated. As frustrated as the teachers were and of course Jason and I, he was finally able to figure out that he was just MAD. He couldn’t distinguish exactly what he was mad about but, I have noticed that he has become very protective of
me. He has been much more affectionate and loving. He has stuck up for me when people have said not very nice things about me. He told me, “Mama I love you so much and I will always stick up for you. You are my pretty mama, nobody will be mean to you.” It clicked in my mind that seeing me in pain and crying from pain, I think that he realized how much he loves me. If any of you know Hunter, this boys loves his mama. He is such an amazing boy and is also very protective of me. I am such a lucky woman. He would check on me all the time to make sure I was okay and wanted to help me in anyway that he could.
To wrap this post up, listen to advice you mama gave you. Treat others how you want to be treated, act and treat others how you would want your children to act, and love others. People may act like everything is great but you never know the fight someone else is fighting in their lives. I have met some of the most amazingly strong men and women in my job and you wouldn’t know because of the smiles they have on their faces. Some of these people you would never know they have metastatic cancer because they appreciate EVERY single day that they have with their family. Don’t pick people apart, accept people for who they are and embrace other people’s personalities. Life is short and you never know when your last breath will happen. My boys are my world and I hope people don’t think that this feeling will EVER change. I am SO proud of who my boys are, the difference in their personalities and their individual strengths they both show. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have 2 boys and a wonderful husband that loves me for ME!!