Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fitting in

The kids are off to school, the baby is down for a nap, the husband is upstairs working and here I sit in the backyard on my computer with a cup of doesn't get much better than this.  I feel so blessed.  How can I not when this is my view.

There's a lot of talk about how to adapt to life after treatment.  I've put a lot of thought into this.  At first I was feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere.  I don't really feel like I belong with any one group of women.  Moms with young children... that's me but what do I really have in common with them other than the fact that I'm a mom?  Breast cancer survivors... that's me but what do I have in common with them other than the fact that we both had breast cancer?  Where do I fit?  That's when I really got to thinking about my situation.  I've never really 'fit in" but have any of us really "fit in"?  We have all had these personal journeys through life that are totally unique.  No matter how extreme our experiences are, none of them are the same.  I believe that I now "fit in" more than I ever have before.  The life experience God has given me has allowed me to connect with people in a new way.  I truly believe that I have a deeper capacity for love and compassion, for empathy and sympathy, for relationships.  I "fit in" with moms who are juggling all the responsibilities of being a mom.  I "fit in" with women (mostly older ones) who are diagnosed with cancer.  Most of all, I "fit in" with people who are going through a traumatic event in life.  Cancer has left me with a new understanding of fear and pain.   No matter what kind of traumatic event has happened, I feel connected to and understanding of that person's pain.  Before cancer I couldn't understand.  A person going through a traumatic experience left me with only these words... "I can't imagine what you're going through."  That is no longer me.  I can imagine it too vividly... the pain and the fear.  And you know what... it is the biggest blessing I have ever received.  I've always believed that pain is a good thing because without it how can we truly know happiness. 

Moving to a new city has been refreshing in the sense that no one knows that I ever had cancer.  It's up to me whether I want them to know.  As far as my neighbors know, I'm just a mom who likes having short hair.  It does get a little awkward sometimes when I meet people and we start talking about our lives and I get to a point in the conversation where I have to make the decision about whether or not to spill the beans.  Sometimes I don't want to shock people with my story.  There's no way around it... pregnant with cancer is shocking.  Conversations can lead to my history with cancer more quickly than you would think.  I'm going to pick up my prescription... I'm having a hot flash..  I had surgery in June... I'm on antibiotic for an infection... I'm not breast feeding... all of these statements that I make lead to one thing.  Yes, I'm on medication to stop my ovaries from producing estrogen which fed my cancer and it causes hot flashes.  Yes, I had surgery to remove my fake boob that I had to get because my real one got chopped off after it was invaded by cancer.  Yes, I have an infection in my chest wall where I used to have a breast.  Yes, I tried to breast feed but I had to start chemo again... and no you can't breast feed while you're being injected full of poison.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not that I want to avoid the topic of having cancer.  I just don't want every conversation to lead there because sometimes it gets awkward.  I also don't want people to see that when they see me.  I want to be known as Rebecca not as "that chick who had cancer while she was pregnant".

The infection is back.  I started antibiotics a couple days ago.  I'm really frustrated by the infection because it makes me worry about my immune system and the fact that it's not doing it's job.  Other than the infection I'm doing really well.  I've started walking the hills around my house.  It's an excellent workout.  It feels good to be able to push myself physically again.  I'm really looking forward to getting back in shape.  I took a picture of myself yesterday after I'd climbed to the top of the hill I live on... please excuse the bed head. 

The big bubba will be 11 months old next week.  He has started taking his first solo steps already.  I can't believe how advanced he is.  He is truly a little miracle in our lives.  I will be throwing a really big party in October.  Everyone is invited...details to follow.  It will be a 1st birthday / 1 year cancer free / house warming party.  So many things to celebrate!


  1. You are phenomenal. Keep writing! You fit in right in my heart <3

  2. You are a glowing young mom with beautiful kids, and a compassion and understanding far beyond your years. The happiness in life consists of its contrasts. Greatly bruised...beautifully blessed. We'll be praying for the infection. Stomp on those bugs.

  3. Hi are amazing! You write so beautifully.....and you can truly see the Lord's hand in your life. I am and will be praying for your infection.
    God bless you and your family!
    Lisa Gallardo