Yesterday I called Emmett to wish him a Happy Easter. On a side note – I think he’s having a big sale at the store this weekend. So if you’re in NoLiTa, stop by his store at 240 Elizabeth Street, between Houston and Prince. Tell him I sent you!
Anyway, back to the navel-gazing subject at hand. We were talking and at one point he said to me, “Ann, you have the most amazing attitude. I mean, really!” Many people have said similar to me, and I thank each and everyone for the supportive words.
But the plain fact is, what choice do I have?
I’m not saying that in any self pitying way. On December 6, 2009, my own day that will live in infamy, I received a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer. On that day, I joined a reluctant sisterhood. I’m hopeful that I’m one of the luckier members.
From the moment I got the call from my surgeon, my mind kicked into fight and survive mode. I’m Irish, as you all know. I never back down from a fight (as some have found out), and this is no exception. I have a lot to fight for: my husband, two sons and my friends and family – near, far and Internet. I hope to be around for a very long time to bounce my sons’ kids on my knee. I’m certainly not going to let some bastardized cells stop me.
The way I face big scary things like this is to set my spine, get as much information as I can, consult with people who know a lot about these things and then make decisions. I also hit the gym. A lot. I’ve found that keeping up my level of physical activity helps me keep my spirits up and keep things in perspective. After my surgery, no one told me I wasn’t supposed to start lifting weights again, so I did. It’s helped quite a lot. Just knowing that I can lift the same amount of weight that I did pre-surgery helps me feel like there’s still something a little normal in my life. Same with spin and aerobics class. And the Hoovinator has been getting lots of regular walks.
I also take every opportunity to laugh in the face of this thing. The wigs (it’s all about the accessories!) are one example. Today’s a Pink Wig Day. I can’t wait to put it on. It makes everyone smile, which is a good thing. Same with dressing up for my chemotherapy treatments. I could go to chemo in sweats and sneakers, but screw that. As Nikki observed, it’s my way of flipping the bird at cancer. One of my friends said, “I may have cancer but it doesn’t have me.” There you go.
Another outlet for me is singing. I haven’t done as much of that as I would like lately, but I’ve started working again with Bill, my vocal coach. One of the adverse effects of chemotherapy is that it tends to dry you out, which affects the quality of your voice. That’s temporary, though, and I hope to be back to the full sing swing this fall. Right now I’ve been working mostly on Messrs. Mozart and Handel. I’d like to get a recital together for this fall or winter. And I want to find a group to sing with.
And of course, there’s sewing. I’m waiting to receive the pattern I ordered. While I wait, I think I’ll make a little skirt today. Something preppy, springy and fun. I think I’m going to make it from this Patchwork Madras Cotton:
I think I’ll just make a little A-line type mini. Hopefully I’ll have it done today and wear it tomorrow, since it’s supposed to be up in the 70s.
I’ll share one final story with you. 20 years ago my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Nasty stuff, really bad. The disease took two years to kill him, but the fact is, he died that day at Mass General when the doctor told him it was cancer. The rest of the time was just him waiting, in fear. I promised myself that I would not be like that under similar circumstances. And I’m not going to go quietly. Hopefully I’m not going anywhere for a very long time. Except out to the kitchen to get more coffee.