Monthly Archives: May 2015

Five Years Next Friday: Celebration Of Suriving Breast Cancer

I have indicated to several people in the face to face world what next Friday is.  However, I am not even sure if my husband knows what  next Friday.  It was the Friday before Memorial Day.  Five years ago, my daughter Addison had died 6 months prior a week before Thanksgiving.  I kept my daughter Hope home from daycare due to her dental cleaning.  My plan was to enjoy the day with her.  The following year, Hope was going to kindergarten.  I knew the days of spending time on a school weekday with my daughter was numbered.  It was so suppose to be a great day for us.  That morning, the breast surgeon called.  She asked me to come in immediately because it was important.  I had to call my daughter’s dentist so I could go to the breast surgeon.   This was the day that I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  It was suppose to be a day for my daughter and I to have some fun before kindergarten.  It turned into a horrible of mom trying to be so strong.  How could this happen to a 36 years old?  My friend tried to leave work to watch Hope in the waiting room.  Sadly, if you know our city, she was stuck in traffic forever.  The receptionist watched her.  I had little time to cry.  So does one do after being told you have breast cancer?  I took my daughter for her dental cleaning.  The day became about surviving one of the most horrible times in my life without a tear.  I had multiple times to practice.  How many times prior did I miscarry?  Hope’s dentist asked me some questions.  I kindly told her I had learned some upsetting news at my doctor’s.  I couldn’t think of any questions.  Could please just complete the cleaning and we would talk some other time. It was the longest day of my life.  I waited for my husband to come home.  I was in some stage of shock.  So, I drove to my mother’s.  She lived on the first floor.  I asked my mother to watch Hope, so I could make some phone calls before the doctor offices closed for Memorial Day.  I stood outside her picture window watching my mom watching Hope.  My mother had dementia.  She asked me what was going on.  I said nothing mom, I just learned I need more breast surgery.  Then like a small child I told on myself.  I agreed to a mastectomy on the left side.  She had one of her clear moments.  She said, “you have breast cancer!” My husband came home later that night.  Traffic was so bad due to Memorial Day.  He worked an hour away in Rhode Island.  I choose to not tell him until he was home safely.  In the days to follow, I learned this was my own journey.  My mother held me and let me cry.  Sometimes, I blame myself for her death.  Maybe I leaned on her too much during the cancer diagnosis.  I had many people from work and church support me.  My brother and sister did not show.   My mother’s spirit was so strong that she had more clear moments during my cancer.  I begged her like a small child, please go see the doctors.  I need you more than eve I kept saying.  Sadly, half way during my chemo  treatment she died.  I was the one to discovery her body.  She had died from natural causes.   It felt like everything I loved was dying.  I also began to realize my relationship with my in-laws were destroyed.  I did the best I could to work full time, to take care of my kindergartener and to get to cancer treatment on time.  I come to realize my cancer was a symbol of my grief connected infertility.  The symbol of silent tears of the death of my babies to rare disease and recurrent pregnancy loss.  It was the materialize emotional pain that was destroying my soul from fighting infertility for many years.  Silently, I said nothing when another second trimester late miscarriage happened.  I cried when no one was looking.  Cancer treatment took what was left of my fertility, my hair, my nails and my eyebrows. It’s five years later.  After 8 long years of secondary infertility, it looks like we may have succeeded.   Monday, it is my turn to take the diabetes screening test.  I have actually only took this once in my life.  My first daughter was born horribly premature.  A co-worker was diagnosis with cancer in my hospital job, I was able to reach out to her.  Next weekend will be a silent party in my mind.  In one way I lost that spiritual connection with the world.  My innocence was lost.  In another way, I learned how brave I could be.  The best victory party is to work on the nursery and spend time with my daughter Hope.  Today, I am working on building my sense of  spiritually in order to reconnect what was lost.

What’s In A Baby’s Birthday?

I must have sensed the OB GYN office called.  I knew the office just got the OR schedule for August.  Let’s review my experience.  My first daughter died from a rare disease.  We had just been in NY city for a late Valentine’s Day celebration.  It was about 5AM on Saturday, February 21st 2004.  A few days earlier, I had just got my professional after a lot of hard work.  I woke up to my water breaking at 31 weeks.   She was not due until late April.   All my care was in Boston.  However, I witnessed my oldest sister have preterm labor prior.  I knew it was to the nearest hospital to get care.  My shoes were lost in the process of the ambulance ride to Boston.  I forgot to put them in the bag.  I left the hospital childless and shoeless.  Our daughter Avery was born via C-section at 9:04.  I was updated during my entire C-section the medical team was trying to resuscitate her.  The transportation team lifted her for me long enough for a kiss then she was off to the NICU Unit.  A day later she died in the arms of her parents.  We had to decide to end life support.  I was so anger at myself for not recognizing warning signs of preterm labor.  Thankfully, we were home and not in New York City.

Both families were supportive back then.  The next birth, I had an argument with my family, which ended the relationship with my siblings.  Both them thought I had no right to cry because I knew my first had a rare disease before birth.  They did not agree my living daughter should be raised to know there was another baby.

This time in C-section number 2, I had all the tests and I was closely watched for warning signs of preterm labor.  My living daughter was stubborn. I had a few false alarms.   I had a C-section to try to save my first daughter’s life.  When my living daughter was born, I was told that a C-section was the only option.  All the precautions were added.  She did not move.  Finally at 39 weeks and 5 days, our daughter Hope was born almost 10 years ago.  The problems did not start on day 1.  It started after I met the doctor, we hired for my daughter.    I did not know this person had a awful past with my brother. He would treat me differently, when I was alone.  When I was with others….  he was just the best doctor ever.  I reached out to others and I was told that I was over reacting.  The warning lights were going off in my soul, but I did what my in-laws and husband wanted.  I was being threatened by a few staff people about my old boss.  I had left that job about a year earlier and honestly could have cared less.  When my daughter was six months old, I made an executive decision to listen to the warning signs.  When she was 2 years old, I moved her care again.  I was not impressed that family needed to escort me to my daughter’s doctor’s appointments due to new doctor’s  inability to treat me with respect.   I am not responsible for my brother.  I finally found her current doctor.  The string of miscarriages happened and I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  My in-laws stopped speaking to me, when the baby died at 18 weeks of pregnancy.  Every year, we interact less.  The last time, I saw them was Christmas because my daughter insisted on me being there.

I am 25 weeks pregnant.  We hired a hospital/doctor over the border in a neighboring state.  We do not plan to tell anyone where the baby is going to born.  We are worried my brother would just show up.  The thing is he is quite the actor.  Sadly, he enlists people to just help him “with his sister.” I will not be advertising when the baby is assigned a birthday.  One, social media account, I allow family members  The agreement is not tell them until the baby is safely home.  After the breast cancer and all the losses, we deserve a happy maternity stay!  I am 40 something now.  I listen to my heart, when the warning signs happen.  It will never happen again!

The Symbolism Of Mother’s Day:

My mother was my world.  She was involved in a terrible car accident when I was 13 years old.  Over time, she lost more and more of her mobility.  Life changed when I was 13 years old.  Her knee was smashed like a window hit by a bat. Many times, as a teen, I blamed myself.  I felt that I should been there to push her out of the way.  She was hit by a car, while I was at an Halloween Party.   Yes, my life was different.  She went on to need more surgery and she couldn’t work anymore.  Our lives were different.  We owned no car and live in an apartment near Boston.  Before the accident we walked or took the subway everywhere.  The dementia sat in.  My mother stopped talking.  She would stare into blank space.   Her children argued.  I tried so hard to get her help.  Everyone needs to be on the same page, which since addiction has her other two children didn’t happen.  I have been missing her more.  I am enjoying social gathering near Boston and creating a bigger network of friends.  Driving through my old city, hurts my heart.  This is where my mother raised me.

My father was very verbal.  I will tell you how many times, I was told that I was an mistake.  He disappeared my senior year of high school.  He wanted to kick me out, because I was 18 years old.  I had excellent grades, a learning disability and I wanted college.  No behaviors.  My father felt his job was done.  I remember listening to my parents argue about me.  My mother wanted us to go to college.  He walked out leaving us beyond.  I gave up in school.  I entered college on an academic probation.  I did turn it around and graduated with honors.  My sister and I did go to college.  My brother was the life of the party after high school.  He resented not going.  Occasionally, I see his profile  and he looks to be doing well.  Infertility was a double edge sword.  I was not wanted by my father.

It was my first baby who died from a rare disease.  I would have given anything to keep her alive.  My decision to continue to the pregnancy was the breaking point for many to leave.  It took forever to have my daughter Hope.  I did spend holidays with no child and a empty womb after my daughter’s death.  Hope was born and some came back.  They didn’t stay because they felt I should hide the death of my first daughter.  They enlisted those I entrust her care with.  When she was 6 months old, I took a stand for myself and my young daughter.  I asked many to leave.  On the most glorious day of my life, these individuals attempted to turn her birthday into a prochoice matter.  Her birth was no longer about her, but their own agendas and careers.  For years their words haunted me.  I went through 4 additional pregnancy losses.  Then I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  My mother died.  I felt I would never see the maternity ward again.  I will never be returning to the hospital Hope was born at again.  It is not her fault.  I learned a good lesson.  TRUST YOUR OWN HEART.  I was so in tuned with everyone else that I was spiritually dying.  I still grieve the absence of my brother and sister.

Two women at the hospital I work have done something nice.  They are planning a baby shower for me.  Even through I grieve the lost of family, I do have the best friends in the world.  For a few days now I have had back pain.  It feels like the muscles have been overworked.  Sometimes, I can’t get off the couch.  I am not trying to complain.  It really hurts a lot.  It is okay for some time but by the afternoon, it hurts.  My OB GYN thinks I am straining my back due to my work bags.  Sometimes, during my breast cancer anniversary, my body will do something strange.  Yesterday, we had to get up at 4AM for my daughter’s last dance comp.  My back was good because it was morning.  I am getting Hope ready for the show.  I see my dance school teacher’s daughter.  She died from cancer a year and half ago.  My heart feels this heaviness.

Today, I gave thanks for being pregnant and having Hope.  I gave thanks for my mother’s life and all my babies on social media.

An older member of church approached us congratulating  me.   Her words were not insulting but from another time.   Then she tells me how it will take time for  Hope to adjust to having a new baby.  She says, I am sorry to hear you are pregnant all summer and the heat.   So, I point out to her that I have survived cancer treatment.  I frequently feel like people need to be reminded it that Hope’s sister was born still, when she was 4 years old.  She saw her mother have the side effects of  chemo the same week Kindergarten started.  Her grandmother died. How hard it was for her to understand still birth and cancer as well as attending kindergarten.  People forget this.

Tomorrow, I see my regular doctor.  The back is slowly recovering.  I can’t wait to thank him in person.  I am hoping to figure out what is going on with my back.

Does The Fear Of Ultra Sounds Ever Go Away After Recurrent Pregnancy Loss?

I have little time to type with.  The fact someone can not confront his parents are getting to me.  We had quite a fight last night.  Everything went well during the appointment and ultra sound.  The biggest issue is I want to know my  daughter Hope will be cared for, while I am having a C-section.  His parents are not constant.  I am trying to keep myself positive, but first I have been through 5 different types of pregnancy loss.  During the darkest hours of my life, people died or no showed.  There was little safety during the breast cancer treatment.  It was like watching a ship break into two to be swallowed by the sea.  As the anniversary of my diagnosis is coming closer, those feelings are returning.  I feel the isolation and depression at moments like it was today.  Last night, I pushed the issue.  If I have to go into the C-section without someone standing next to me, I can.  I have developed the independence skills.  I went out to the West Coast twice with no one for the fertility treatment.  I was asking for his parents to commit to the C-section date for him to be there.  He took it as personal attack on his family.   They have canceled numerous times.  I have no family like a mother or a sister to come to the hospital to help.  My aunt is 80 and close to needing a wheel chair.  I have friends, but can I expect them to take a day off from work for me?  I knew all day that if I talked about it was going to going to be a major fight.  Some days, I like to know I am someone’s priority.

I went to the appointment alone.  I understand this appointment is a 100 miles from his job.   The ultra sound went well.  I became anxious at any questions.  I want to cry.  I was in the office waiting for the doctor just thinking something is wrong.  Everything went well.  The ovarian cyst is gone.  The baby is doing well.  I got some questions answered about the C-section so I can hire the appropriate person for my daughter’s care.  I am no longer expecting family or anyone to help.  His parents are quite clear about their feelings about me.    It’s Mother’s Day this weekend.  My heart is broken about my mother’s death.  Even through she had dementia, she always made me feel special.  Taking the subway last week from my home city, reminded me of her.  She was all I had and she died in the mist of my cancer treatment.

The Major Anniversary In May: Celebrating Five Years As A Breast Cancer Survivor

May is a big anniversary month for me.  We had just lost our baby six months prior a week before Thanksgiving.  My husband’s job at bank at that time was brought by another really hostile bank.  We lost fertility insurance.  My job at the time was angry at me for “getting pregnant and loosing the baby.” I was told never ever to discuss the baby’s death or I would be fired.  Meanwhile the boss of that place was expecting her grandchild at the same time as my child was due.  She loved to bully me by having my co-workers around and taking about how digested she was that she to attend her daughter’s baby shower.  A good friend took me to a social gathering to my former employer the hospital, who recently expanded.  Within a month, I was able to switch jobs to the hospital.  I had just switched.  My husband and I were trying a donor sperm cycle at home through a sperm bank, when I noticed dried blood on my bra.  The pregnancy test was negative.  Surely, this is a milk duct infection due to my recent loss.   I googled and I googled.  The articles were mostly about breast cancer.  No, they are wrong.  I WAS 36 YEARS OLD WITH NO FAMILY HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER.  I stayed up most of the night.  I was the first one seen on a Sunday morning through a walk in clinic.  Within seconds of a breast exam, a lymph was discovered right under the nipple.  I was still grieving the negative pregnancy of yesterday at that time.

My head went back and fourth.  It’s most likely nothing.  People would look at me and say, “it’s nothing.  You’re too young for breast cancer.”  My daughter was 4 years old and she was struggling with the death of the baby.  I remember going to a preschool event then my husband meeting me at the hospital.  I had decided with the doctor to surgical remove the lymph.  I was given a light anesthesia.  I think I may have heard what was said.  I awoke up in a panic.  The Friday before Memorial Day, I was diagnosis with breast cancer.

It’s five years later.   I watched everything I was and loved crumble and die that year.  We lost the baby, my mother, a beloved pets (my mother’s cat that I was caring for and the ferret.)  I had just finished with all cancer treatment.  My co-workers and immediate family were out celebrating the end of treatmetn,  I kept telling everyone that I was sleeping in tomorrow.  My husband discovered the ferret seizing in the early morning hours the day after.  He was put to sleep.  Months after the cancer treatment ended, I would burst into tears.  Lately, I have been examining the anger that won’t go away.  I was so overwhelmed.  I felt so alone.  So, I recently got into trouble on the social media account that I allow people from the face to face world on.  One of the biggest problems is my family (cousins) would think my in-laws were helping.  My in-laws never think it is their problem, because I only married into the family, which means “I am not real family”. My husband does not say anything.  If I speak up against my in-laws, it causes bloody battles between my husband and I.  I started functioning on my own.    Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a different church to meet new people.  I am tired of the loneliness and I am looking to explore my spirituality more,  I verbalized we are hiring outside help for when the baby is born.  I am done with this.  Hope needs to get to school.  I can’t drive.  The responses were crazy.  An old friend is willing to help.  If I learned anything from my breast cancer.  It is to speak my needs.  I also learned to not expect others to fix it.