One year ago today, I received an early morning phone call and that single moment altered any path that I thought I was heading down. The voice on the other end was comforting yet truthful. I had cancer. I say the whole word this time for a couple of reasons. Because that’s what she said. And that’s what I heard.
But I HAD it. It never had me. Let’s all remember that before I go on.
When I hung up, I tried to explain what I’d just heard to my boss through tears and broken sentences. I left sobbing and shaking, heading home to meet John. All I could think about were my children. Harlon was just a baby. Baby Boy Filloon (we couldn’t decide on a name FOR EVER) was just a little dude growing inside of me. What was going to happen to him? Those boys needed me, what would they do if I wasn’t ok?
When John and I were finally face to face, we hugged and I continued to cry. I was so scared. But in that moment, I knew that I would never want to go through this with anyone else. He grounded and continues to ground me. He’s my protector even when I’m sure he feels helpless.
We tried to pass the time until my appointment later that day with funny movies but we couldn’t shake it. Any of it. So we went to the mall. Of course. We walked around (I waddled), ate cookies at Mrs. Fields, sat in the gigantic massage chairs at Brookstone, tried so hard to pass the next few hours. From there, we jumped face first into the story you all are so familiar with now.
A lot has happened in the last year, I’m not the same person I was then. A big one- I’m now a mother of two. Those boys are my reason for living and what I give my all for. Just the other day, Harlon told me that Wyatt is his best friend and my heart melted. Little did I know that I’d be able to give him that gift. (He also told me a dead worm in the driveway was his best friend but I’ll take it anyway.)
A huge thing I’ve learned since that call is that I can’t control what happens to me, I can only control how I react. Ain’t that the truth?
Over the last year, I’ve lost parts of myself- physically and emotionally. But I’ve gained so much more than I’ve lost. Here’s just some of what I’ve learned through it all so far-
Light the candles, use the good soap, drink the good bottle…. meaning don’t hang onto shit and save it for a special occasion. Everyday is special. Hug lots when people are there because you never know if or when you’ll see them again. Tell people how you feel but don’t be a jerk about it. Know your body and trust your gut. Speak up for yourself. People will support you even if you don’t feel you deserve it. Love more and judge less.
I’m not done.
Laughter really can help heal. I can endure more than I ever thought possible because ‘you can knock, knock me over but I will get back up again.’ I am open to so much that this world has to offer. It’s ok to have a day or two of pity parties as long as you don’t get stuck there. We all need to practice more self care and self love. It’s ok to accept help and even ask for it. I absolutely can love a second child as much as the first. Yoga, it’s not just for a hot bod. Makeup can be fun and can also make you look less like an alien. My Posse is rad. You don’t know how strong you are until you have no other choice. I am proud of myself. People are ultimately good and mean well. (Except for a complete bitchwad here and there). I’ve realized what it really means when people say ‘it takes a village’ and my village is fierce.
I’ve learned the true meaning of Team Filloon. What started as a family joke, quickly became a legit mantra. There are a buttload of ‘mountain lions’ out there. Always remember ‘that’s not me, that’s not my story.’ Internet friends can turn out to be true friends. And when in doubt, smile.
Like I said, this is just SOME of what I’ve learned. I’d be writing for days if I wanted to record it all. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I celebrated today with a trip to the day spa, John had given me a gift certificate when I completed chemo but I never had a chance to use it. Today felt right. It was completely relaxing and much needed. I got to talking with the concierge about why I was there and what I was celebrating. Super sweet gal, I felt like we could be buds. Well, she surprised me with a sweet treat and sparkling apple cider. A small gesture to say congratulations and that my story really hit home for her. She began to cry a little and I gave her a huge hug. She didn’t have to do any of that for me but I hope she understood how special she made me feel. It’s the little things sometimes.
Just for funzies- A quick timeline snapshot: I had gone up to northern California to help my brother pull off an epic wedding proposal the week before my biopsy. I knew that something was not right at this time but didn’t tell anyone. When I got diagnosed shortly after, I honestly questioned if I would be around for his wedding. That scared the crap out of me. Because when you hear the C word, you really don’t know what’s ahead. But here I am, still blogging to whoever will listen. Fun stuff, right?!