Breast Cancer Stories: Christina

Today’s guest post is by fellow breast cancer survivor Christina. Christina blogs at The Uniboob Club: Breast Cancer Does Not Define Me as a Woman, But My Battle with Breast Cancer Does! I was drawn to her blog by the title, as I am also an unwilling member of the “Uniboob Club.” Christina writes about her fight with “the beast”. She writes honestly and bluntly about life as a breast cancer survivor, and living with only one breast.

Read on to find out more about Christina:

Living with the Monster

I never thought I would ever say I have a relationship with Breast Cancer, but the truth is I do.

Did I dream about walking down an aisle, pretty in a torn pink dress as a little girl, nope I sure didn’t. Did I ever daydream about looking the beast in the eyes and saying,”I do”…absolutely not BUT in a way that is exactly what I did!

I entered into a marriage of sorts with the pink monster the day I lost my breast to cancer. Unwilling, you bet, but for better or worse I am married to the beast. I came to the alter of cancer kicking and screaming, hands bound and breast removed but none the less I was sealed to this beast, this monster in February 2006.

Do we see eye to eye? No we don’t, but by making this relationship personal, I am able to understand her presence in my life a little better. I know she is afraid the day will come when these chains are broken on my terms and not hers. I know she needs me to thrive yet I know a cure is waiting, and she will be unable to stop it. She may see me as her pet, a silly girl with a crazy plan I realize the truth: I may not be the one to cut these chains but one day some one will!

I have those why me moments, especially when I see pictures of my breasts staring back at me. Somehow seeing my mess of a chest in a picture makes this battle even more real to me. I did not chose this fight, but I do chose the life I lead, and I did make a vow to the beast when I said I do… to live my life with courage and hope. Seeing my breasts captured by both light and color is a wake up call reaffirming who I am and the journey I am on this very moment.

I honestly do not notice my scars on a daily basis. I know they are there, I do look at them, but they have become such a part of me, I am blind to their presence. Yes I do look into the mirror, but I see through the looking glass in front of me. I am aware my breasts are not the beautiful well shaped bosoms of my youth but I am not ashamed of their lope sided, scar seared and unseemly sight when I see their reflection. What I am is I am a Breast Cancer survivor. I am a woman who has found the real me in the journey. I am a mother, a wife and a daughter. I am loved and I am thankful for each day I am given. I am not brave, but I am stubborn and I am committed to finding a cure.

I have come to realize my journey, my one on one time with this beast , the monster in my life, has made me who I am today. No I am not defined by breast cancer itself but I am surely defined by the battle I wage against her daily! My strength, my courage. my hope comes from a deeper relationship with this monster. She has touched me in a way nothing else can. She has scared me for certain and she has shaken me to the core yet she has not stolen my joy, my heart nor my faith! These things she can never take from me.

Each day I wake I do so to a monster waiting to greet me. I roll over and she is the first face I see. She follows me to the mirror, smiles and laughs in her most sinister way. She makes a pot of fear and leaves her dirty footprints across the floor. Yes, she growls a lot and at time she even brushes her painful scales across my body while touching the very scars she herself imprinted upon my chest. BUT she also knows I have entered into this relationship with the knowing one day I will break free from her chains!

Yes, she may have taken my breast and along the way she may have even chipped away the years I have here with you, but she can not take away the hope from I have within me. My life is a tapestry of experiences, some for the good and some for the worst, of love, laughter, of tears and of my personal journey through them all.

Christina Olachia blogs at The Uniboob Club: Breast Cancer Does Not Define Me as a Woman, But My Battle with Breast Cancer Does!

Christina and her family

The Life of Halloween: Coming Full Circle

Tara, writer of this guest post today, is a blogger I met through the Spring Chicken Tribe, a group at the SITS Girls blog support site. The Spring Chickens are primarily a group of moms with kids who have special needs. Are you a mom who has kids with specials needs? Or a mom who is personally affected by life’s challenges? (I guess that’s where I fit in!) Come on over to the Spring Chicken Tribe, and join us!

In the meantime, enjoy Tara’s post: The Life of Halloween: Coming Full Circle

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been crazy about Halloween. Well, maybe when I was a kid and at the age when trick-or-treating was still cool. But that was many years ago. However, now that I’m a mom, I’ve been thinking more and more about this holiday and it’s slowly reeling me back in. My thoughts have included the “life of Halloween” and the realization of how the activities and feelings associated with this holiday have changed so much over the years.

Halloween as a kid is such a magical time. A time full of parties, candy, and dressing up as our favorite characters! There’s nothing more fun than the thought of “What am I going to be this year?” Walking through the stores, looking at all the costumes and accessories, and knowing that you can be whatever you want to be on this one day! Shelves surround you, full of glitter, wigs, make-up, fake blood, fake teeth, masks, and everything else imaginable. Then, a couple aisles over, there’s all the candy. With that sight comes the excitement of trick-or-treating and the prospect of having mounds and mounds of candy to last for months! Oh, and don’t forget, carving pumpkins!

Then we grow older and trick-or-treating is no longer cool, but there comes a whole new excitement with this holiday. Parties! I’m not quite sure at what age I stopped trick-or-treating, but I’m sure it was a sad time. Come on, even adults like candy! But I remember going to my first Halloween party. It was in a dark garage. We played a game where we were blind folded and stuck our hand in a bowl of gooey something that ended up being slimy spaghetti noodles. Halloween music played and we had fun just talking and socializing. We also enjoyed the wonderful activity we liked to call “toilet papering.” Now, apparently not everyone experiences this, as my husband never did. We snuck out in the dark of night to fill people’s trees with toilet paper. Oh, the memories.

Then we grow even older and graduate high school, some going off to college. Here comes a brand new meaning to Halloween – parties…of a different kind. You may also get together with friends to go to a haunted trail, haunted house, etc.

After college Halloween may bring yet another set of activities. You may purchase candy to pass out to trick-or-treating kids. Or you may attend yet another kind of Halloween party, a work party. My workplace would usually have a carry-in and do some Halloween activities that included passing out candy. Yes, candy! A little bit of the fun comes back

Now I’m a mother and, like I said at the beginning, I sit here thinking of all the things I can’t wait to do with Carter. Some of them we will do this year even though he’s still little, like dress him up in a costume. But next year will be like a new beginning to Halloween. The magic that I felt as a child will all come rushing back, in parent form. The aisles and aisles of costumes, glitter, wigs, and masks will, again, be a part of my life. We’ll go trick-or-treating and sit on the floor sorting through the mounds of candy when we get home. We’ll start new family traditions, like going to a pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins, carving the pumpkins together, and eventually we’ll have Halloween parties for Carter
and all of his friends.

I feel like Halloween has come full circle, at least for me. Your journey through the life of Halloween may have not been the same as mine. Of course, we all experience different things as children and adults, and have different interests and traditions when it comes to any holiday. But I hope all of you enjoy this time of year and take a minute to think about your journey through the life of Halloween. Has the magic it had in the past come back to you?

Written by Tara from Three P’s in a Pod