As many busy working people with kids know, there is rarely any quiet time. I wake up and there is usually a child (okay, Evan) smacking me in the face. Someone is demanding their cup of warm milk. Another is hoping to get a few minutes of snuggle time before the day begins. Diapers to be changed, dog to be walked, dishes to be washed, laundry to be folded. This all usually happens before 7:00am. Then, we leave for school/work, busy day of committee meetings and programs, then the evening routine of pick up from school. Dinner. Baths. A few minutes with the hubby. Exhaustion. Sleep. All over again.
A few Thursdays a year, I take a 45-minute drive to get together with some of my colleagues in the field. While on this drive, I put on a podcast about breastfeeding — a topic I feel passionate about and have practiced with all three of my children. A funny thing happened… I began to cry.
I wasn’t just crying, mind you. I saw sobbing. Flat out. Ba-bam. Huffing, shaking, melting, collapsing – that kind of crying.
Now, there are certain things I DO cry about: racism, inequality, unfairness, stupidity, injustice, tragedy, human pain. Okay, human pain of other people.
I. Never. Cry. About. Me.
I was sad. I was so sad. I began thinking about my breasts and about the lifeline that connected me to my children for the past few years. I look at my children and know that my physical body nourished them long after the doctors cut the umbilical cord. Even when I experienced post-partum depression, even when I didn’t connect to my newborns right away, even when my own brain was questioning why I had given up my “freedom”, my physical body nourished them. My body fed them.
The other day, I received my test results from the hospital (I had my follow up exams of both my breast and ovaries last week). It’s usually good news when you get a letter; bad news when you get a phone call. So, the thin envelope from the hospital was a welcome visitor.
“Dear Liza: I am happy to inform you that the results of your pelvic ultrasound and CA125 were both normal. Your CA125 result was 13.”
Now, I gotta be honest here. I have no idea what my “C125” is supposed to be. I know a “bad” CA125 means that there are tumors in my ovaries. So, yes, this is good news!
Taking this time to care about me, to focus on me, and to prepare and protect me, has been a very empowering journey so far. Thankfully, I have a supportive and amazing husband to help me along the way — texting me (no, not sexting me) notes of encouragement each day about how proud he is of what I’m doing for our family, for me.
For the past few years, I have been obsessed with protecting my children, especially my oldest child. The other day, she broke her glasses. And, if I have any retinoblastoma parents reading this right now, they know just what that means for me. Glasses protect my child’s “seeing eye.” Her right eye is prosthetic. And, while I know she’d still be a superstar if she were to injure her “seeing eye”, I still am very careful about what she does. The broken glasses have freaked me out. And, yet, I have come to realize that we can do whatever we can to protect her — to protect me — and still we need to be prepared for other plans.
Crying, today, allowed me to grieve. I’m not sure what I was grieving — the loss of my breasts? The loss of the physical reminder of the lifeline I shared with my children? The loss of my “youth”?
While I’m sure I’ll bounce back soon enough with jokes-upon-jokes about how I’m gonna love my new, perky set of boob-a-rifics, or how I no longer have to worry about “cold rooms and thin shirts”, I’m going to let the sadness sink in today.
Peace and love,
ps. no workout today — it’s snowing and I have that breast pain back again (the same spot as Christmas morning — the catalyst for the MB4M mission!)