We Do Not Discuss Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is not a topic in our house.  It is very rarely mentioned in conversation, if ever.  That’s not to say it’s off-limits — if my sons have a question, all they have to do is ask.

But see, we lived through it, and now we’re done.  BUT I NEVER, EVER WANT MY BOYS TO FORGET.  Because cancer is not a focal point, it could easily become forgotten — you know, the stuff that “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” is made of.  And I do not want that.  I don’t want my boys growing up, burying a part of our family’s story, and with that burial, missing the opportunity to give thanks and offer gratitude for how extremely fortunate we are.

So we take a specific day as a family to openly rejoice in the blessings of good health (and hopefully silently rejoice every other day of the year).  Today was the day to shout from the rooftops.  Today was the day to SOAR!

This morning, as my feet blindly searched for the wooly slippers that awaited them beside my bed, I gave thanks, as I do every morning…but I extended that gratitude with every step throughout the day.  Each step upstairs to wake my boys, hand them their walk-shirts, pin our numbers on, smile for the camera — through all of it, I gave thanks.  And I can only hope they did, too.

We walked beside hundreds of smiling people, all celebrating Life.  The walkers’ dogs even appeared to have smiles on their faces as they panted through the thick, muggy Dallas morning.  Click, click, click went the doggy toenails as they pranced down the road, happy little souls.  Souls who always appear grateful.

As I walked, I surveyed my boys’ faces.  My husband’s face.  I became aware of the slight hint of a smile on my own face and in the creases around my eyes.  And I knew those were the smiles of peace.  The peace one feels when you trust that all is well.

All is well, my friends.  Take a look around you, within you, walk to the mirror if you need to and look into your own eyes, inhaling and exhaling slowly until the peace arrives.  Hold it there, allow it to settle.  And give thanks.

We may not discuss breast cancer much.  But we sure do honor and celebrate the absence of it!

breast cancer

I’d like to offer a huge THANK YOU to the Cancer Support Community of Dallas for putting on such a top-notch event!  My family and I look forward to supporting you every year in the One Run and throughout the year in your numerous, generous endeavors.  For those who are unfamiliar with the Cancer Support Community (formerly known as Gilda’s Club), they provide programs and support to all patients AND their caregivers, children, etc. who are touched by cancer — all free of charge.  They are an amazing organization with a huge heart.  Look them up and see if one is in your city.

Subdued family pose:

breast cancer

breast cancer

Warming up a little….

2 Years Cancer-Free:

breast cancer

breast cancer

After the walk, watch him celebrate, see him SOAR:

breast cancer

Please subscribe.  That way you’ll never miss a dose of loving and trusting yourself!  Thank you.  Love, Leslie

A Private Love Affair

love affairI woke up yesterday morning with a smile on my face before I even remembered why I was smiling.  Subconsciously, I knew.  Consciously, I was still catching up.

Two years ago to the day, I did not wake with a smile on my face.  As my alarm sounded at 3:30 AM, I wasn’t really waking at all;  I had never completely fallen asleep.  No one in my house had really slept-slept that night, only half-slept.  The 3:30 bell was the official reminder that the day was real, there was business to take care of, and that business involved prayers, surgeons, and eventually a blessing in the form of pathology reports confirming that the cancer cells within my right breast had been eradicated.

The smile on my face when I awoke yesterday morning already knew the peace within — the peace someone knows without thinking, the peace when you remain still, silent, go within, and feel your pulse radiate the unspoken words:   All Is Well, All Is Well.  This is the kind of peace that feels a 2-year cancer-free anniversary before it completely registers on a cognitive level.

I gently opened my eyes, the smile already beginning to fade from my lips as it moved downward, tucking itself inside my heart.  And there my smile remained, for the rest of the day — through my morning Pilates class, through helping my son with his Spanish homework, through laundry and paying bills, through having friends over for a grilling-hamburgers-by-the-pool sort of evening.  My smile remained in my heart, not prepared to return to my lips — not in the form of words, at least.

No, I did not utter a word to acknowledge this special marker to anyone.  I couldn’t — I was having a private love affair with myself.

It felt as if Continue Reading

Uncomfortable Topic or Not, Nipple Sparing Is Huge

 

nipple sparing mastectomyUpfront Declaration:  Today’s post is not for everyone.  But because trust is about listening to your intuition, paying attention to the voice inside, then doing what you are called to do, I’ve chosen to share the video below and the topic of nipple sparing mastectomy with you today.  If you or someone you love is ever diagnosed with breast cancer, this topic will be HUGE.

Why So Taboo?

Nipples aren’t something we talk about in public.  We all have them, it’s not like they’re gender specific.  Yet, how interesting we’re able to say breast or penis with less awkwardness than we say nipple.  For whatever reason, we shy away from the word.

Because the whole topic of nipples is so taboo, I bet many of you don’t know that when a woman has a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy, she typically does not get to keep her nipples.  And for those who do happen to know this fact, have you ever stopped to contemplate what that really means… that a woman cannot keep her nipples?

Who would want to contemplate that?  It’s much more comfortable on everyone to just not think about it.

But we’re going to.Continue Reading

No More Pink Ribbons! So, Why Do I Walk?

Pink Ribbon

Pink Ribbon Overload

Familiar heading?  I used it last week when I posted, The New C Word.  Yes, I’m on pink ribbon overload.  And it’s not just the pink ribbons, it’s the whole Komen walk.  I did my first Race For The Cure in the late 1980′s, back when breast cancer was not so near and dear to my heart, but interestingly enough, back when I believed my running in it and supporting it actually mattered.  This past weekend, as I walked with 24,000+ other supporters through the pink-saturated streets of Dallas, I looked around and marveled at the spectacle it’s become.

Bearing all of that in mind, why would I choose to get up while it’s still dark outside, wake my family, and drag everyone into the city to wrestle with traffic, parking, and crowds of people wearing pink ribbons, pink tu-tu’s, pink wigs, and pink bras over their clothes?

For two reasons:  the reason standing on my right and the reason standing on my left.

Pink Ribbon

See, in our house, breast cancer is very rarely mentioned.  It’s not an off-limits topic or anything, it’s just not a ‘thing’ with us.  We lived through it last year, and now we’re done with it.  BUT I NEVER, EVER WANT MY BOYS TO FORGET HOW FORTUNATE WE ARE.  Because it’s not a topic of focus, it’s very easy to forget.  I do not want them growing up, burying a part of our family’s story, and with that burial, missing the opportunity to give thanks and offer gratitude for how extremely fortunate we are.

So once a year, we will walk together as a family.  We will wake in the dark, deal with traffic, parking, and all the other stuff, and we will not complain.  Our goal is to remember.  To remember that this is part of who we are, and we are ever grateful for the answered prayers and blessings of this extraordinary journey.

Pink Ribbon

One Year Cancer Free.  ALWAYS Whole and Healed.

 

Pink Ribbon

Fun and done. Thankful. Grateful. Trusting Life!

c word

Added Bonus:  KRLD Radio Interview

Aired October 14th

The podcast below features a short segment where Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Harris, KRLD radio announcer Thomas Miller, and I sit down to chat about:

  • continuing to write about Trust after receiving a cancer diagnosis
  • interviewing and choosing my team of surgeons
  • the reconstruction process
Plus, I candidly discuss:
  • my embarrassment regarding my previous opinion of plastic surgeons
  • how I handled my emotions, including whether or not I was in denial
For the full interview, featuring my breast surgeon Dr. Alison Laidley and plastic surgeon, Dr. John Antonetti, click here.  They provide invaluable information regarding early detection, mammography, reconstruction, and best practices for breast health all women will want to hear.
c wordIf you haven’t done so already, please take a second to subscribe above.  Receive your weekly dose of Trust delivered right to your inbox!