So, it has been a minute since I wrote last. Mostly, I didn’t have anything new to say because now I am in a holding pattern until surgery in July. It is an odd feeling to have your life put on hold and to have a clock that slowly ticks down to a truly scary experience. I froze my Crossfit account for all of July and August and that made me more sad than it should. The rational part of my brain knows that I can still go visit friends at the gym (be an “assistant coach” as my coach puts it). I’m not barred from entering, after all. I also know that I can get back to it after I heal. The fact that I have to put everything I love on hold for months, though, pisses me off in the irrational part of my brain. In the time I have been writing this blog, we have also been in a constant battle with my insurance company. I don’t want to name any names, but it begins with H and ends with umana. If you can avoid getting a policy through them, I would recommend it because they have been simply horrible to deal with. After two denied appeals, we are in the last stage of this process: Independent Review. We wait for the decision from the review board, but I don’t have much hope. My mom, however, has been a pitbull with this stuff and I would not have gotten this far without her.
But enough whining for this post. I want to go back to my entry on the Five Stages of BRCA Diagnosis. The last stage, I talk about taking action after receiving this information. That can mean undergoing the surgeries to remove the offending organs and monitoring intermittently, but it is so much more than that. What will you do with your life once this is over? While this may feel like a huge burden to carry right now, going through the process to literally remove the risk is such a small chapter in your life. The recovery will hurt and you’ll be taken out of your normal routine for a time, but the fact that you will be a “previvor”, someone who stops cancer even before it can start growing within them, is a huge gift. It will change your life and your outlook on things. And it should.
So here is how it changed me: The way I see it, hundreds and thousands of women died while researchers were trying to isolate these genes to determine that cancer could indeed be hereditary. I feel like it would be a disservice to those women to cheat cancer and then go back to my pre-surgery life where I wasn’t doing anything that “lit me up” (besides being a mom of course). I feel like I need to do more to help the people who are fighting and have yet to fight this disease. So, starting in the Spring 2018 semester, I will be an FAU Owl so I can work towards my degree in Nursing. It’ll be tough to go back to school after 12 years off (wow, has it been that long?) but I am excited to go to work. My goal after I finish is to work the Oncology ward, possibly with a specialty in breast cancer. It may seem like a depressing job, but I want to help people defeat this disease and if that is not possible, help them leave this world with as much dignity and grace as possible. I am scared. I am excited. At 34, I finally figured out what I want to do with myself. So, for that, I am eternally grateful to this burden for opening my eyes to what I want to be. Go Owls!