I guess the great thing about Cancer Round II is that I am remembering all the stages one goes through when newly diagnosed. It's pretty much the same for me this time around:
1) Get the news, stay steady on the phone and ask good questions;
2) Whimper a little bit when telling The Husband;
3) Have a complete sobbing nervous breakdown for approximately 5 minutes;
4) Deep breath;
5) Plan and attend a rockin' pity party (this involves food and retail therapy); then
6) Move forward.
Don't get me wrong, "Moving forward" still involves a bit of crying, more retail and food therapy and some pity. But moving forward and planning next steps feels so much better than the sobbing nervous breakdown.
What's different this time? Well, I have an almost 8-year-old on the scene - so life REALLY goes on. L. doesn't care that my right breast is on fire. She wants peanut butter toast and a television show. She needs a ride to soccer and is pumped up to show me her artwork from the school year. She, as usual, is keeping me in the moment and is cutting me no slack. And for that (and so many other things), I love her.
This time, I also have more awesome friends than ever. There're old friends (who went 'round this merry-go-round w/me the last time - hello wig shopping, head shaving and meal-prepping!) and new friends, which include lots and lots of breast cancer friends. I'm already "in the club" - so I've got instant backstage VIP access to women who have "been there, done that" - who can provide support in a way that only one who's faced this junk can, and who also can give perspective on what, I'm sure, will be some difficult treatment decisions. What do all these people have in common? They're wonderful, genuine, supportive folks who've already rallied to say "you are not alone" - and if you've been through this before (or any semi-tragic life situation, for that matter) you understand the value of those 4 simple words.
So day 3 of my "new, new normal" is today - already feeling better able to cope and am psyched to impersonate a person without problems (this is easier when you have hair on your head, but not impossible if you don't): I'll go to my fav spin class this a.m., work on decorating the house, pay the bills, go to soccer practice, make a family meal. In other words, I am going to revel in the mundane.
Off to make toast!