Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our summer

I haven't posted in a while. We've had a busy summer (and we aren't even at the ages where the whole summer sports league things yet!).  I've had a lot to say, but just didn't know how to share some of it.  So here it all is in one large clump of disorganized thoughts.
We celebrated my 30th Birthday.  This is was big for me.  30 is the age in which my risks begin their big increase.  30 means closer to 31, which is the age of the youngest diagnosis in our family.  For a long time, I had a big fear of turning 30. It seemed to come with this big dread, a looming sense of bad things to come. But it can now say that I'm not scared.  I turned 30 during a beautiful vacation and cancer didn't cross my mind.  Picture curly red haired Merida in her Scottish accent saying, "If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?" Yes, Merida.  I did and it feels good. In my case, no one changed into a bear, at least yet!

We passed the anniversary of my miscarriage, which happened to coincide with my birthday.  I snuck right past the day that would have been my due date a while ago without really thinking of it because I was busy recovering from surgery at that point.  I did stop and think about this anniversary a little bit.  I wasn't incredibly sad or anything, just thinking about how very different my life would be.  We definitely would have loved the little guy. (Yes, I think it was a boy even though it was way too early to know and sometimes I like to think of him as Gerald Jr. because Dad wanted a Gerald Jr.  The girls love the name Gerald probably from the Elephant and Piggie stories or Giraffe Can't Dance and even named a doll Gerald, but sorry Dad, I'm not having one.)  As much as we would have loved another addition to our family, I really feel like I'm right where I need to be.  I understand now that everything happens for a reason.  When I look back at everything that's happened over the last year, it's shocking to think that if we had that child, I wouldn't have even known or done so many of these things.  I would still be nursing.  I still at this point wouldn't have been able to have a mammogram or MRI.  I would have been completely unaware of what was going on inside me.  I really think that the loss of that child really saved me. 

That's really scary to think about.  So I'll stop there and I'll tell you about the great vacation Mitch planned to keep me distracted during the week that these two big events happened.  We were able to stay in an AMAZING vacation house in Phillips, WI.  We had 2 days to ourselves there and then our parents joined us for 2 more days of fun together.  Beach, boating, fishing, antiques, fireworks, 5K race, WI Concrete Park (sounds strange, is strange), an Art Festival, a zoo trip, good food, and Spotted Cow on tap throughout it all! According to the girls, "That was the best vacation ever!" Little do they know that they've never really been on any other vacation. 

I'm preparing to run again in the Fox Cities Marathon as part of a relay team. Silly me, volunteered to run the longest leg of the race.  I've been running more this summer than I ever have before, trying for 15 miles or more a week.

I spent a few days of nap time this summer writing a seething response to this man.  He's a medical journalist who gave a speech at TEDMED called "Pre-games, previvors, and pre-death: My TEDMED talk on what medicine can learn from Moneyball," He asserts that one of the many problems with our health care system is the overtreatment of certain diseases particularly pre-diseases. He used a number of examples, but focused heavily on the treatment of pre-cancer (what he felt was the best way to describe those at a higher risk due to genetic mutations.) He specifically pokes fun at the term "Previvior" that the organization Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered has coined (more on my opinions of that term in another post). Oransky believes that just because signs, symptoms, or tests show that you are likely to develop a disease, it doesn't mean you actually will. He even went so far as to crack a joke that the next reality show produced my Mark Brunett should be placing "Previvors" on an island and seeing who develops cancer.  I am a person who often uses humor to help break the tension of tough situations, but I don't find that joke funny at all.  I find it quite offensive.  He didn't crack a joke about someone breaking a bone, he's talking about someone's life. Comparing acne to cancer is an insult to anyone who has had cancer or love and cared for someone with cancer.  After sharing my opinions on his assertions, I asked him for a public apology.  His apology hasn't come yet, I should just "let it go."

My uncle passed away last week after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was a great guy, loved by many (his obitutary took two columns to list all the family that survived him thanks to my dad's huge family). He was one of my dad's best friends throughout high school, who then married my dad's sister. Our families spent a lot of time together throughout my childhood. He had a great smile and laugh and a strength and calmness throughout the toughest times. After his initial diagnosis, he was expected to have more time, but it didn't quite work out that way. The time he had though, he was able to spend with his family living and loving each day.  I was honored to be a part of celebrating his life this weekend and I will always remember that first line of my reading (thanks to the the Deacon and my brother telling me I nailed it), "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest." 

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