When we go through cancer, so much of what we hear about seems to be what we CAN’T do.
Don’t get sick, stay away from lots of people, don’t go into the sun, for me the list just seemed endless. All the “don’ts ” were just more examples of how cancer was stealing control of my life from me.
So, my perspective became let’s do. Let’s live life. Let’s be safe and smart about it – but let’s not have cancer define everything. This excerpt from my blog captures one of my memorable living out loud, or “being radiant” moments during my cancer journey.
“Whatever you do Mom and Dad, do NOT read this!! I repeat – do NOT!!! You’re still reading it, aren’t you? And you wonder where I get my stubbornness from? So, are you stopping now? Ok, good! For the rest of you – please keep this a secret – from you know who – because I will never hear the end of it! You see, I went out to a big party last night and had an absolute blast!
Here is the story. Every year there is a wonderful Arts party in January celebrating the best of the arts and those in the art community. I have gone to many of these, and last night was the twentieth anniversary of the gala. Well, my good friend Patty called, and, unfortunately, her friend couldn’t make it, and she had an extra ticket. Now, she wasn’t asking: I don’t want anyone to blame her for this one! I said, gosh I wish I could go, sort of wistfully. Because I do love these types of events and supporting the community.
She agreed that it would be fun. I said, well maybe I can – I mean why not? (Uhhh…the whole cancer and double mastectomy less than two weeks ago thing Donna!) But, let’s be real, all we needed was the wig, lots of make-up, and something dressy that would cover the five drainage tubes. (I know you are still reading this Mom and Dad – and shaking your head! But it is ok – really!)
So, I got all gussied up – took me at least two hours to do my make-up. (Had to take some rest breaks, you know.) Found some fun jewelry, put on my long brown tweed cape that I had bought for dressier purposes when I knew surgery and drainage tubes were on the way, and waited for Patty to pick me up.
So, we are halfway there, and Patty begins to panic (I think). OMGosh – what have I done – you are still recuperating. What medicines are you on? Where is your insurance card? What do I need to know?
Okay, Patty, calm down – all will be fine! Here is what you need to know. Do not, I repeat, do NOT let the drains show from under the cape! So, be on drain alert if the cape swings at all. Secondly, try not to let people hug me. The arms and shoulders still hurt, so “air” kisses will be best for the evening!
For the rest of it, no more than two glasses of wine will be fine, and when I am tired, I will just ever so gracefully (I hope) sit down! Yes, we can do this. We can get dressed, feel good, go to a party and socialize after all this breast cancer stuff. For my part, I felt fantastic! I think I looked pretty good as well, if I may say so! 🙂
My favorite comment of the night coming from an old boss, saying wow you look good. How are you? My answer – “you know what, I am absolutely great.” And I am….Love to all!!!”