"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Is breast cancer defining me?

I can remember starting this blog early on when I was first diagnosed and pondering what to call it.  I thought about it and came up with Breast Cancer Won't Define Me because I didn't want to be known as "that girl that had breast cancer".  I still don't want to be "that girl".  I started really thinking about it and wonder if breast cancer is defining me......

Today the family that use to live next door to us was in the neighborhood riding bikes and stopped over unannounced.  We have not seen them since last summer.  We were able to quickly catch up and chat and the whole time my friend had no idea I what I had been going through since December.  I stood there in my kitchen talking to my old neighbor with my hair and new breasts and she had no idea.  I finally told her.  Her jaw hit the floor.  She could not believe it.  She assumed I had not had chemo or a mastectomy.  To her I looked just like I did before.  When I finally told her I had a bilateral mastectomy and chemo she said "your hair" and looked up.  I explained briefly.  She said she would have never guessed I had breast cancer.  In some ways it made me think that breast cancer wasn't defining me.  No one was seeing me as "that girl that had breast cancer" unless I told them.  I guess I have been successful in some ways.

Then I thought about my life and breast cancer.  I feel like the last 8 months have been consumed with breast cancer all the time and every single day is filled with so many things related to breast cancer.  I feel like it is a major part of my life, every day, most hours and minutes.  I hate that it is such a "BIG" part of my life.  I feel like on the outside it's not defining me, but on the inside it is.  It's so all-consuming.  I don't want it to define my life.  I don't want it to be a "BIG" part of every day, hour and minute.  I don't know how to make that part stop. 

As I move forward with all of the big changes in my life it is an opportunity to make sure breast cancer doesn't define me on the inside.  Each day represents a new chance to define my life by positive things and happiness.  I have to keep reminding myself of that each morning and fill each day, hour and minute with joy and not thoughts of breast cancer.   

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