It’s been four years since you’ve been gone !!! Four. Fecking. Years!!
They say time flies when you are having fun…..or NOT!
Personally, I think that time just flies. I’m flabbergasted that it’s actually that long ago, because so often, it feels like it was just yesterday.
Only the other day, I was trying on an outfit for the upcoming Christmas Poinsettia Ball, and when it came to zipping up the bodice…..Thelma and Louise were having NOTHING to do with that!! There was no budging them. Now….it it were you, my original boobs, I could possibly has smooshed and shoved, and zipped up that fecker. But no go.
T & L don’t really do that sort of thing. There’s only a small amount of smoosh, and very little shoving leeway with these two. Don’t get me wrong…..Thelma and Louise are pretty, and somewhat perky for an almost 52 year old.
But they are not you….my dear departed boobs.
So…..I had to send that outfit back, get a bigger one, have it altered, and chalk this up to another T & L experience. In the scheme of things…..it’s not bad, just another subtle reminder of how my body has changed since being diagnosed with breast cancer.
But then again, those reminders happen daily, not just with T & L, but with the aches and pains, the power surges and hot flashes, and the constant (but thankfully more distant) fear of recurrence, or worse….metastasis.
But my dearest boobs….life goes on. And despite the shite storm that blew my way four and a half years ago, my life has NEVER been better.
Someone I know, recently told me, that when he saw me for the first time in over a year…..he thought to himself…DAMN. She looks good. She must be “getting some”! Yes….he used those EXACT words.
Now….Thelma and Louise have YET to go on their maiden voyage in that respect. They (and I ) are most certainly NOT getting “some”. More’s the pity.
But, after I stopped laughing out loud, I explained to this person, that the “glow” he was seeing was NOT generated from any “nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more”….it was the glow of HAPPINESS coming from within ME.
Apart from traveling and hanging with THE best friends and family a woman could ask for, Thelma, Louise and I have done some WICKED cool things since I last wrote you. We have all gone to Washington DC, and have spoken to our Political Representatives about Survivorship legislation on Capitol Hill. Not bad for an Irish immigrant who loathes politics as a norm. I am grateful to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), for giving me that opportunity, and for all the amazing work that they do. I am very honored to be part of their Cancer Policy and Advocacy Team (CPAT). And I am blessed by the people I met on there. People who I have formed a life long bond with.
We have also been part of some AMAZING fundraising events…..Freddie and Dennis’s Excellent Adventurers, which helped raise money to give bikes to kids whose families could not afford them. To see the look on those children’s faces when they received their new bikes, was absolutely priceless. Lori, Dennis, Freddie and friends did an amazing job organizing this ride.
We raised money and biked a shite load of miles for cancer charities here in the state of Maine (only getting slightly lost 2 times).
~Champion the Cure Challenge, where Team Pink Stanley raised over $12,000 for research into cancer in our local area. We are lucky to have amazing sponsors (Stanley Subaru & News Center Maine to name a few),and a team dedicated to helping fight cancer.
~The Beth C Wright Cancer Resource Centers Ride for Life, to help provide services to cancer patients and their families in Hancock and Washington counties.
~And of course, the Dempsey Challenge, where Brooke (my Breastie and cohort in shenanigans), walked and biked, and got our pictures taken with the man himself (Patrick), in our pink tutu’s none the less. Don’t panic….we had other clothes on too…….but the tutu’s definitely stood out. We hung with a crew of unbelievably kind and giving people, and funnier than shite!!! Including Patrick’s two amazing sisters, who I am giddy to say, I now consider my friends.
We also got to be part of a badass warrior retreat in Kennebunkport ME at the end of October. Warrior Revolution was put together by a tribe of entrepreneurial women. Leah and Sarah from SaltyGirl Beauty, Cynthia from Violets are Blue Skin Care, Amanda from Prim and Propah Blog and PR extraordinaire, and the one and ONLY, Melissa from Instagram’s Cancer Fashionista (who is now my new BFF). The information/speakers were brilliant, but THE most amazing part of the weekend, were the connections we all made. Thelma & Louise even made a guest appearance….in the middle of the cocktail party. Yup….Cora was up to her shenanigans AGAIN, and flashed her tats for two ladies who were considering getting mastectomy tattoos. The poor young male waiter has probably not recovered from it yet, and is most likely scared for life. LMArseO!!
And last, but not least, we got to be part of the 13th Annual DownEast Living with Cancer Conference, organized by the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center in Ellsworth Maine. At this conference, I wore two hats. One, was as a Physical Therapist Assistant and part of a team providing information on the Oncology Rehab and Lymphedema Program’s offered through the hospital I work for, Northern Light Maine Coast.
The other, was as a woman surviving breast cancer. Both were very glad to be a part of that day. From all the sponsors/participants with tables displaying information about services, to the excellent speakers that asked us to participate and be active in the day, and in our cancer journey. Barb Cookson, Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, and Dr. Ralph Moss provided us with tools and resources to navigate our survivorship.
So all in all my dearest Boobs…..it’s been a brilliant year. Thelma and Louise continue to do their best to fill your space, and although they will never be “you”….I’m still happy with the decision to have made them part of me life.
I will leave you with a couple of quotes (big surprise there eh!);
“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
The loss of you, while devastating, revealed ME. The grief allowed me to focus on who I really was. I was not the sum of you, my Boobs, OR of my long red hair. Those things were not what made me beautiful, or strong. THAT was revealed in the way I faced the grief head on, and rewrote my own story. Which, if the Gods allow, I will continue to do for a LONG time to come.
So dearest Boobs, here’s to another year.
To be continued…..