February 1st, 2002 was the date that I had my bilateral mastectomy due to my breast cancer diagnosis and the pathology report which read that after my lumpectomy, I still had breast cancer in my body. It’s also the date that marks the fact that I finally took hold of my own health and my life and decided to prophylactically take the non-cancerous breast as well, much to my surgeon’s chagrin. I can happily report to you, that I still stand by my decision as it was the right one for me.
There is so much I have learned in the last 11 years since that day that I walked into the OR by myself, sobbing after being taken away from hugging my supportive husband who still stands by my side. In the wake of having had those breasts reconstructed with silicone implants twice since then and then after having one of those implants rupture last year, beginning multiple surgeries to create what I now have for breasts which is body tissue taken from other parts of my body to make new, real, soft fleshy breasts which are mine and not artificial, hard, painful implants which I had endured because I had no choice, I am celebrating!
Since my breast cancer diagnosis on New Year’s Eve of 2001, my life has changed so dramatically that words fail me in trying to explain how richer my life has become. I have endured much suffering, but I have also reaped many blessings. I am grateful for each and every day when I arise from my bed to greet the world. I am thankful for life’s blessings, the big and small ones and I know firsthand the meaning of the preciousness of time. I practice being present in my life ~ enjoying The Presents of Presence ~ meaning actually being in the moment and enjoying what that moment offers. My intent to cast worry from my shoulders is an ongoing trial in my life, but I accept that it is a work in progress.
I know I am blessed with a loving family and much support in my life and I rejoice in the fact that I can continue to send out love on a daily basis through my blog, my FB page The Presents of Presence, my SendOutCards business and my actions. I have struggled through the grief of losing my breasts, fighting the disease through multiple surgeries (more than 10 and counting), ACT (chemotherapy), radiation, the loss of my ovaries at age 35 (salpingo oophorectomy), multiple needles, shots, medications, tamoxifen, arimidex, the loss of my hair, my self-esteem, my confidence as a woman, the sad passing of friends from the same disease and the mortal fear of reoccurrence. This is not a pity party by any means, so please don’t mis-understand me. It’s actually a celebration of triumph!
My mother-in-law texted me this morning, “Have an especially happy day!” and I knew exactly what she meant for I knew that she remembered ~ and I knew that she would be there with me celebrating this momentous event. I’m still here! I have no painful implants anymore! I have come full circle today ~ from having my God-given breasts, to having them removed due to dis-ease, to having them reconstructed not once, but twice with implants, to having been miraculously restored and reconstructed with breasts again which are of my own flesh and blood.
I am not sure that if you haven’t experienced this phenomenon that you can imagine how incredible it is to be here 11 years later celebrating so many wonderful gifts that my life has brought to me. It is with heartfelt tears of joy, of gratitude and of above all, love that I write to you today. However, knowing that we all carry burdens while we endure our journey on this earth, I feel like this is OUR CELEBRATION TODAY! So please indulge me as I invite you to celebrate love and life on the first of February (don’t forget to say Rabbit Rabbit) as well as family, friends, miracles, faith, joy, laughter, tears, gratitude, blessings, health, compassion, friendship…I could go on and on!
Celebrate Today my friends…Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future…
Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the Present!
May The Presents of Presence
Be with You Every Day!