What NOT having cancer taught me
I am thrilled and grateful to say that I do NOT have breast cancer right now.
But for a few weeks I didn't know, and the hard lump in my breast was the same first sign so many in my family had found. I knew it was a distinct possibility. That was terrifying. And the experience has taught me some valuable lessons.
In May, I found a lump in my left breast. To be perfectly honest I rarely did the self checks on the schedule I'm supposed to and still lived in a false sense of belief that there's no way I could find anything yet so what does it matter?
I learned it DOES matter.
Anyone can have a lump. Some are weird tissue, some are cysts, some are tumors.
Personally, I have a family history of breast cancer so my risk goes up quite a bit. I'm doing a DNA test to see if I have the "breast cancer gene" and getting an MRI just to make sure everything is good to go in there.
I learned that 80% of lumps biopsied are not cancerous.
That's reassuring! And something I could NOT find while searching on google waiting a few weeks to get into a doctor!
I learned that caffeine can make your breasts retain water and make them lumpier!
Why has it taken me 30 years to learn these things? Why isn't this common knowledge?
How about that your breast tissue is in your armpits too - or up by your collarbone - and 50% of breast cancers occur in these outer areas! (Ok, I actually DID know the armpit part because when my milk came in to nurse Revan I had a terrifying armpit experience 😂😂😂)
And I learned some deeply personal things about my relationship with my children.
I learned I can be WAY more patient when I think my time might be limited.
I'm not saying to go around morbidly reminding yourself you might die tomorrow every time you want to scream - but just know that your "I can't do this!" isn't true, it's a limiting belief that if it had to, would be stretched and stretched and stretched, much like the skin on your belly was if you carried babies in there.
At 24 weeks I said, "There's NO way I can get bigger, my skin is so tight already!" Obviously, I did get bigger, and sure my skin ripped, I've got deep stretchmarks over my entire torso, but my body DID stretch.
During this period of fear, my mind did too. I saw every connection moment as a memory I was creating and every discipline moment as a chance to grow their brains a little more while I could.
I learned what matters most to me is what I want more of before I go (or in my case find out if I actually even have a fight ahead of me.)
I crave time spent outdoors with my boys. I crave reading stories to them and to myself. I crave creating, drawing, painting, crocheting, coloring, and cross stitching. I crave using my hands to do small detailed things while I let my mind think.
I crave learning.
I crave cuddling.
I crave nature time and friend time and family time.
I crave serving and loving others.
I DON'T crave more busy work, more social media, more comparison, more drama, or more TV. So all of those things have taken a major back seat for good.
I learned I have SO much to be grateful for.
Gratitude has been important to me for 5 years but during this time I realized I didn't have any major regrets and that is such a tremendous feeling. I have created a home of love and happiness and joy with my kids. I've done my best every day and apologized and made it right when I've fallen short. I've chosen paths that spoke to my heart, to be and do things others called "impossible." I have a good life, and that is a very comforting thought.