Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yard sale madness!

This Saturday is the giant yard sale. My house is filling up with donated items, and teams of people are swarming to get ready to sort, label, and sell those items. It's a bit overwhelming! Last year, we raised $2100, and this year is going to raise even more.

(Speaking of raising money...29 people on our team have raised $41,000+ so far. IMPRESSIVE!)

Last year at this time, I could barely sit through the yard sale, as I was so uncomfortable from my lat flap surgery (only a week out, barely home from the hospital). This year will be an improvement, needless to say, and I'm delighted to take on a leadership roll.

Despite that, this is exhausting. I'm so excited for the sale...and I'll be so glad when it's over. :-)


PS Want to check it out? Come by my house from 9-3 on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cancer moments

I had a cancer moment yesterday.

At co-op, I was, at the childrens' request, sitting with a group of kids in the reading corner, reading "I'll Love You Forever" to them. I've read this book a hundred times, and it's very sweet: about a mother singing her "I'll love you forever" song to her infant, then toddler, then school-age, then teenager, then adult child, and then at the end, the old mother is frail and her son carries her like a child and cares for her, and sings to his mother "I'll love you forever." Very sweet.

Except for cancer moments.

I made it to the page where the child is nine years old, and it swept me like a huge wave. Will I know Tessa when she's nine? I will love her to eternity, but when she's nine will I have the chance to tell her in person? Tessa was across the room, intently building a tower, and her beauty struck me like never before. Would I know her at nine?

I had to stop. I hurried to the bathroom, shoving the book at another parent to finish with the kids (who appeared oblivious to all of this), and sobbed.

When I got it together, I wiped my eyes, came out, and continued with my day.

I tried to explain it to the parent who had taken over for me, and she said, "I know what you mean, that book gets me every time," but I know she didn't understand (though she was very nice about it). Sure, it's amazingly touching, but that wasn't it at all. Most of us assume that we will grow old to watch our children grow, and that if we are lucky our children will love and care for us in our old age. I no longer have the luxury of that assumption. This book reminded me that I am different, and that my guarantee is less than someone else's.

A cancer moment. I can not explain the level of grief I feel in these moments.

I used to have cancer moments every day. When I was first diagnosed, I felt that cancer WAS my life, and that there would never be another thought in my head that wasn't tainted by cancer. Nearly two years out, and that's not the case at days are, mostly, rich and fulfilling, and though cancer is always there I've been able to channel it into a lot of positive things. If I must think about cancer nonstop (and this is the case), then I've decided to think about ENDING it, and hence my work with the 3-Day, Race for the Cure, and Genentech. I'm trying to own it, rather than it owning me.

Yesterday, once again, cancer reminded me that I'm not in charge. I can do the most aggressive treatment (I've yet to meet anyone who has done as much as I have for early-stage breast cancer), I can take on challenging volunteer work, I can wear a bikini and run on the beach with my new breasts, I can train for a marathon, I can hug my daughter, hold my husband's hand, walk my dog, clean my house, chat with friends.....but cancer is always there, threatening me, and promising to take it all away. I have a great attitude, and 99% of the time I believe that I am cancer free and will live until 2069 despite the cancer. But that 1% of the, that hurts.