Pop quiz: Which one of these is a Weeble?
If you said the Weeble is on the right, you're WRONG!
I posted these pictures on Facebook, noting that every time I look in the mirror I think "Weeble." An observant, obsessive friend of mine caught me in a lie. This is not a Weeble. This is a Fisher Price Little Person. In my mind this was what a Weeble looked like, but when I googled the term this is what I found:
So, how did I come to be a Weeble? (Beth-Ann, just go with it.) In December 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I started chemo in January 2014, and when my hair started falling out in clumps, I had my son shave off what was left.
So there was chemo, mastectomy, radiation therapy, then more chemo, which I am still on through August. . . . a total of 20 months of treatment. We'll just fast-forward through that nastiness, with a couple of pictures of one of the bright spots. It was amazing how my dogs tried to heal me. I have two black lab mixes, and some days I would lie in bed all day with one on either side. I called it doing the Oreo. I never got a picture of it though.
There is no evidence that I still have cancer. I participated in a clinical trial at the University of Minnesota, and it seems that the experimental drug worked really well!! However, the kind of breast cancer that I had is called Triple Negative. That's because it doesn't have receptors that some breast cancers have so targeted treatments can be used--some are sensitive to estrogen, some to progesterone, and some to something called HER-2. Mine had none of those three, so Triple Negative. TNBC tends to be harder to kill with chemo, more aggressive in spreading, and has the highest recurrence rate. One third of patients will have a recurrence within 5 years. And when recurrence occurs it tends to be in the liver, bones or brain, which is Stage 4 and incurable with an expected life expectancy of less than 5 years.
Those are scary statistics for a Weeble to hold in her little head. Especially one who is a single mom with a 14 and a 15 year old at home, and a 19 and a 25 year old who still really need her. What to do about it? I believe 95% that I am fine and I have another 30 good years. Every now and then that 5% pops out unexpectedly. Yesterday my daughter and I saw a Great Dane puppy and I said that I want to have one before I die. She said, "Yeah, but you have lots of time for that. Right?" "Oh, yeah! I just meant that I can't get another dog till ours are gone, and Riker's still a puppy and he'll be around for a long time, and it just seems like a long time to wait for a Great Dane, you know?"
The biggest change I see in myself since having cancer, hair style not included, is that I don't want to put off dreams or take too long to do the things that are most important in my life. Number one is hanging out with my family. Number two is sharing spiritual truths with as many children as I can through my books--that we are all one, that love and peace are the reasons we are here, and that we need to care for each other and our Mother Earth. Number three is making sure that my grandchildren have a planet to live on. Maybe I bug people with my posts about climate change, evil Big Ag and Citizens United. But statistically speaking, you can understand the urgency I feel, can't you?
My experience has made me look mortality straight in the eye, and I can honestly say that I'm not afraid. I absolutely believe in God and heaven. But as they say, heaven can wait. I still have a lot to do here!!!