Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime…wait, what?
Needle in the record. Summer 2015: I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer; no previous history.
Instead of beach days, pool playdates and a relaxed summer schedule, suddenly I was in the throes of intensive testing, researching doctors and grappling with lots of new questions. One thing was immediately clear: This diagnosis affects the entire family.
Here’s how we told the kids the day we found out: We set up ingredients for root beer floats on the counter and called them into the kitchen. I said that all of the recent busyness at various doctor offices had given us some helpful information: I have Stage IV breast cancer. That the medicine for this disease would be pretty intense, and I would lose my hair. And that this disease won’t go away for me like some other people – that I’d be on a form of treatment for the rest of my life.
Our son gave me a hug and asked if he could have his root beer float now. Our daughter burst into tears and gave me a hug.
I felt grateful to have words for my illness. So many of my friends struggle with disorders that haven’t been able to get named; and who among us has not been touched by Lyme disease? I’ve had so many firsts along the way: CAT scans, MRIs, PET scans, biopsies and countless medical procedures to help me breathe as excess fluid continues to build around my lungs.
Now it’s two years later: summer 2017. Our bodies are incredible. My body is amazing. I continue to embrace this chapter of my life with strength, openness, humor and love. Honestly, I feel chosen. I look forward to sharing more of our family’s experience with my breast cancer with all of you – a deeper level for Kids’ Almanac.