Can there be anything good that comes out of a breast cancer diagnosis? Recently I have been determined to find some. Here is a random and personal list, in no particular order:
1) My seventeen year old son says “I love you, Mom” when he has finished talking to me on the phone…..and I know that his friends are listening and he doesn’t care!
2) Getting ready in the morning after my hair has fallen out takes about 5 minutes total. I realize that bald guys definitely have some advantages. Let’s face it, without hair, is your head any different from the rest of your body? So a mild body wash all over takes care of everything, no shampoo, no conditioner, no detangling! With no hair there is nothing to style and blow-dry, just give your head a rub dry (gently) with the towel. After all my bodily hair fell out too, just think how much time I saved in not shaving my legs and armpits? I have to admit that when that happened I nursed this secret hope that I would be the only person for whose bodily hair remained permanently absent but whose head hair grew back thick and luxuriant. Really Lord, I asked, after all this don’t I deserve to avoid shaving for the rest of my life? Of course, no such luck. Sad to say that I have had to start shaving my legs again waaayyyy before the hair has grown back on my head. Where was I? Oh yes, and then when my eyebrows and eyelashes fell out I had nothing to mascara or fiddle with and there you go, saved another 5 minutes. If I had ever managed to master one of those complicated head-scarf styles I guess it would have added a few minutes back, but most days I just shake out my wig (synthetic) and pull it back onto my head. Five minutes total!
3) Sorry for this next one, you might think I am just plain strange, but I have always thought that it was a shame that people have to miss their memorial services. Obviously, you don’t really get a choice. But it has always struck me that at memorial services people say such nice things about the person who has died and I have always wondered whether they got around to saying those things to the person while they were alive. Of course, when you are dead you really wouldn’t care about what was said, but when you are alive, that is when you would love to hear how much you meant to those people who never got around to saying it. After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, people were so lovely and said the nicest things. It was just like going to my own memorial service, without having to die to do it!
4) For a couple of years before my diagnosis, my husband and I had fallen out of the habit of cuddling together on the sofa in an evening, just taking the time to enjoy being with each other. We were just too busy and had too much to do. One of the things I cherish most is that even though I think I now look like E.T. i.e. I have no hair, eyelashes or eyebrows, my husband now sits next to me in an evening and rubs my bald head and tells me that I am beautiful.
5) I have been busy for so long, rushing through life rather like Captain Kirk traveling at warp speed on the Starship Enterprise. I cherish the time I have now. I listen to the birds when I wake up in the morning. I have spent hours and hours just being present with God. I don’t want to miss anything anymore. I am so grateful to be alive.