You know, looking back on some of my previous posts, I have to admit I'm slightly appalled at my self-pity. I recognize that I wasn't fully in control of my emotions (pregnancy and depressions can do cruel things to an otherwise self-confident and competent, independent woman), but still. The whining. It's, quite frankly, humiliating. Sure, I could go back and edit my blog to remove those posts, but really, if you're reading this, you know me, and therefore, I don't need to impress. Besides, the point of my blog is to express myself, and like it or not, I have good days and bad. Thankfully (and I'm not being sarcastic here), I have chemical help these days. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who has a familial history, as well as environmental factors which contribute to, postpartum depression utilizing a little zoloft to stabilize the churning chemical soup that used to be her brain.
Frankly, you guys, I still have bad days. But I am reminded every time I turn around how much worse it could be. I could have been a victim of a natural disaster. I could have had a much higher-risk pregnancy than I did. I could be a widow; with a 7-month-old. But the possibility that is most frightening for me is the fact that I could have faced a crippling diagnosis: cancer.
My family has a history of cancer. Both paternal and maternal. All kinds. But cancer isn't really a concern for most twenty-somethings. This is why I admire my cousin, who is also one of my closest friends. A few years ago, in memory of her maternal grandmother, she got involved in fund-raising for the Susan G. Komen foundation for finding a cure for breast cancer. She has participated in a few of the 3-day For a Cure walks (60 miles, 3 days), which requires a pretty hefty fund-raising entry fee. She has captained (is that the right term?) a team, and last year, she herself was diagnosed with cancer: thyroid cancer. The thyroid controls all sorts of things in the body, and now that she is sans thyroid, she has to rely on medication to regulate the feelings of body temperature (always feeling chilly versus always feeling too hot) and body weight - and it takes a while to achieve the correct balance. I admire Christina so much because she faced her diagnosis head-on and took a very active approach to her treatment. She blogged (and still blogs, fyi) about her experience, to share with other thyca survivors and those who know thyca survivors so they don't feel so alone. She was there for me to discuss my concerns and fears for Wylie and to commiserate with me when I would hear, "Well, if there's a defect to have, it would be a CCAM!" (She often heard that thyroid cancer was a "good cancer". Does anyone else cock their head to the side when they read that?? Good cancer?!) Now, she is facing more testing and waiting to see if she has an autoimmune issue which affects the salivary glands (read: painful swelling of the facial areas AND dry mouth).
So, I want to take this opportunity to count my blessings. And I want to dedicate this post to Christina, who also has good days and bad days, but is one of the bravest women I know - not because she is so strong, but because she is honest and admits that she is scared/worried/in pain/human. She is not brave because she has no fear, but rather, she is brave because she tackles her fear. And even though I don't always know the right thing to say, I want her to know that I love her and admire her. I also want her to know that she always has a place to stay and an ear to fill. Because God only knows that sometimes, you just need someone to listen.
Life, death and woodchucks.
1 week ago