Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Say goodbye to the "ta tas"

After much angst and indecision, I finally succumbed to all the medical advice—chop them off! Since I’m almost 60 you might say, “What does it matter at your age?”. And 6 months ago I would have agreed. But there’s some kind of weird emotion attached to those protrusions.

Mind you they have always been a bane to my existence. They interfered with clothing choices--making it impossible to find any shirts that fit and would also reach across the ta-tas. They have caused me an enormous amount of physical pain—causing back issues for years. They were an incredible cross to bear during puberty because I “blossomed” before my peers and of course, garnered the attention of the boys entering puberty.

Good riddance you might say. Adios. Sayonara. Adieu. But parting with these annoying mounds of tissue can only be described as sweet sorrow. On the one hand it’s nice to finally breathe deeply and know that I’ve removed the BRCA threat. On the other hand for about 45 years they have become a part of who I am. Jokes have been made, some by physicians (“the breasts are too large”—to map for radiation) and my family who all in fun made comments about how I can’t see my feet, how food drops on them and stops before reaching my lap, etc. etc. On the other hand, I used them to nurse my two babies. An experience I will always cherish.

A good friend of mine who is going through her own cancer battle reminds me that you have to take the negative and turn it into a positive, so here it goes:

10 reasons why I’m glad the ta-tas hit the medical waste bin:
  1. I can finally see my feet
  2. My shirts actually button for a change
  3. My back should feel better
  4. They can’t be cancer carriers any longer
  5. I probably lost an automatic 10 pounds (could be more)
  6. I don’t have to ever wear a bra again (unless I choose to) 
  7.  I will no longer be the brunt of family jokes 
  8.  I can go wardrobe shopping
  9.  It’s easier for the cardiologist to hear my heart now
  10. The breasts are no longer “too large”

So there you have it—farewell to the ta-tas. It was a relationship feathered with good times and bad times. And yet, they can no longer be the carriers of the dreaded big C. Adios. Adieu. Sayonara. I know I will miss them but I have to wonder why we all place such a high value on those blobs of fatty tissue. After all, I’m still the outspoken, opinionated crazy lady that laughed at the chemo nurse when she read me a list of side effects and asked me to sign on the dotted line. With or without my ta-tas.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

There is family..and then there is family

I spent the last two days with people that I love. I wasn't born into this family but they are, in every sense of the word, my family too. I grew up with Polly, Jack, Nancy, Patsy and Joy. My family spent summers with them, took vacations with them, and hung out at their beautiful Houston home. My mother and Polly were like sisters and my dad and Jack were like brothers. Polly--soon to be 90 (sitting on the left), is a gift from heaven. Her girls grew up to be just like their mother. I had the privilege of sharing a portion of my adult life with Patsy and Nancy, both of them living where I was living at the time. They were and always will be the sisters I never had.

This is a large family--and they love each other. They take care of each other. They embrace others and bring them into their family. They have had struggles, heartaches, and even great loss, but they rally around each other, cry together, hug one another, and trust that God is always in control. This family shows all of us that, as Polly said to me last night, "you're rich if you have family and friends". Polly is a billionaire.

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer and having chemo treatments at MD Anderson, Polly was her nurse (and my rock). I remember sitting in her kitchen late one night while she was making me a pan-fried steak talking about my mother and telling her how scared I was that I might lose her. She grabbed me close and said, "honey, I know...I know." She didn't have to say any more than that. She just held me until the pain subsided. That's the kind of woman she is. When my mother died, Polly and Jack were right by her side and I would never have survived that first week without them.

Polly has outlived friends, the love of her life, Jack, and recently two of her daughters, Joy and Patsy. And still, she gives and gives to others. Her pain in the last year has been unfathomable, and she's hurt more than a parent should have to, but she glows with hope and resilience.

This morning I heard her clanging around in the kitchen and she was making one of the things she always cooked for me, biscuits and chocolate sauce. My kids still talk about them when she made them for them years ago. They are delicious. But as I said in my book, it wasn't the biscuits or the chocolate sauce that I loved so much. It was so much more. It was standing in the kitchen with her while she made them. It was seeing the joy on her face when I chowed down, enjoying every bite (and yes, I had four this morning). It was the love that she showed because she knew how much I loved them.

There aren't many women in this world with the class of Polly Pry, unless it's her daughter and granddaughters. They are all angels on earth, mothers, grandmothers and friends. I love this family and I thank God every single day that he brought them into my life.