I’ve contemplated how best it is to share this story, this experience of being a young mother, fighting this illness. I started this blog to keep friends and family in the loop about what’s going on. But I also started it as a way to get back to writing.
I used to write a lot: short stories, a personal journal, academic papers, and I enjoyed it. But I was always somewhat nervous about sharing my writing. At academic conferences, I would stand up and read my papers. I would submit writing to books and journals and it was always with a sense of trepidation. And a few things have been published. But I always thought, what if people didn’t like what I had to say? When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, this fear began to fade away. (It was, unfortunately, replaced with plenty of other fears.) I had always wanted my writing to be as polished as possible before sharing, now I just want it to be as honest as possible.
Along with the diagnosis, there also came a sense of wanting to be more connected. I don’t post often to social networking sites like Facebook, mostly because I felt somewhat strange about sharing my personal life with so many people. Yes, they were all technically my “friends” but many of them were people I hadn’t been in touch with for ages. Wasn’t it strange to share so much with acquaintances? I loved getting updates and seeing pictures from other people. I just didn’t reciprocate much. I didn’t love the idea that little Nate would have an online presence far before he was able to control it, and so I shied away from posting pictures of him. But now, I think I get it, that desire to be connected, that desire for publicness. I want to feel more connected to people, to people from my past and perhaps to some new people too. I want to say, “Hi, remember me?” or more accurately: “Don’t forget me, please.” I want for people to see my little family, and I want to say, “Look at my son. Can you send him a little love?” I also want to say, “Check your boobs, lady friends.”
So, if you found your way here through Facebook, I say, “Hello old friend. Thank you for stopping by.” And please feel free to follow, share, or post a comment. I am happy to tell you that I am now a mother, a wife, and a doctoral student. I am also battling breast cancer.
There has been something profoundly moving about hearing from all sorts of people sending their positive thoughts my way. I want to believe that all these loving thoughts accumulate into something powerful. So here I am, blogging about something very personal, letting down my guard and being open to the world, to connections old and new. It’s my little way of saying, “Universe, you may be messing with me now, but I’m getting ready to mess back.”
This past weekend, we went to a friend’s cottage a few hours north of Toronto. With surgery coming up in one week, we desperately needed to unplug. Here are a few pics from a lovely weekend (and thanks to E and Z for good cottage times):