Life Lessons

Wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around my head, I stared at my body in the mirror and realized how much I missed my breast. After being diagnosed with stage 1 (3 separate tumors) Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. The decision was not difficult, I felt clear about it, I didn’t want to have to go through this twice. When confronting my treatment options, I chose to be aggressive. I want to survive for a long time.

Not everyone agreed with my choice. I was told by one person, “You know that breasts are important to men, don’t you?” How insensitive could someone be? But then you think about your man…I let them cut off the fun bags he loved to fondle, kiss and suck on…now, they are gone.

Thus far, my breast reconstruction, they are not any where near what was. Tissue Expanders are awful! Absolutely horrible! They are hard as rocks; not shaped like breast; they don’t move; and get in the way, because they don’t move. The implants that replaced the expanders look really good. They are not breast, but they have the same shape.

Yet, I still believe I made the best decision to increase my chances of survival.

I still believe that I have the potential to learn at least one new thing every single day and my life will change in some way because of it. I have often wondered if the concept of “making a mistake” even makes any sense when talking about life decisions. If it is such a mistake, then how come I have always learned something from it? If a situation is such a negative event, how come it is teaching me a positive lesson?

My philosophy: Everything in life happens for a reason, we’re just not always given the reason at the same time as what has or is happening. God has a purpose for all things good, bad, or indifferent!

If I had insight into all the end result of all my possible options when faced to make a decision, then I could choose the one with the best outcome for me. But that isn’t going to happen, so I do my best. I gather up all the relevant data, process it with my own brainpower-which is constantly being fueled by everything in my past and present experiences-and I make the decision I believe will provide me with the best outcome…and a lesson for the next decision. I try my best to make decisions that I will not regret.

Don’t take anything for granted. Love unconditionally. Laugh until it hurts. Say I love you so many times that it gets annoying. Help people who are less fortunate. Learn the meaning of sacrifice. If you fall off the horse, get back on the saddle. Appreciate the people who are there for you. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

When you wake up in the morning, give thanks for the air in your lungs, for having the opportunity to live another day with your loved ones, for each and every one of the blessings in your life.

Go to your yearly check-ups. Get second opinions. If you think something isn’t right, ask for more tests. Don’t be afraid of your doctors. Don’t let your life be defined by anyone else other than yourself.

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