My Happy Little Life

 

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My three daughters: Ava, Marlie, Emery
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My husband Nate, birthday girl Marlie and me in March 2018

My life is full.

I am grateful.

I have three healthy daughters.

I’m truly married to my very best friend.

My dog is the best.

My Dad lives in the same town as my family, and Nate and I refer to him affectionately as the third wheel in our marriage. He just fits.

My in-laws moved to town a few years ago, and are my friends and great helpers with our children.

I have wonderful friends.

I have a job that I love. When I work 80-hour-weeks, I’m happy (most of the time).

I live in a community that couldn’t be any better: Mount Vernon, Iowa.

I am healthy.

I am fulfilled.

 

I am also, by nature, a pretty private person. I’m an introvert. I feel like sharing struggle is valuable, but I tend to do so with a very small circle. So, this blog is a personal challenge I’m taking on, to grow as I endure my cancer treatments.

 

The idea of breast cancer affecting me has literally never crossed my mind.

I have no family history or risk factors.

 

To say that a breast cancer diagnosis was a surprise is an understatement.

It was earth-shattering.

It was shell shocking.

It has altered my entire life.

And my husband’s.

And my children’s.

And my Dad’s.

And my Brother’s.

And my in-laws.

 

If you told me four months ago that I’d wake early on Sunday mornings to read research about breast cancer, I’d have shaken my head and laughed.

Alas, this is what I now do over a mug of coffee.

Weeks ago it made me physically sick. Now, I like it.

I am someone who thrives on being informed and being able to see a clear path.

 

If you told me three months ago that I’d find plant-based chemotherapy to be one of the most fascinating things I’d ever read about, I would have thought you crazy.

 

If you told me two months ago that I’d spend a few days in literal fear for my short-term life, wrestling with my own morality, I’d have been a bit shaken, but I’d have moved on quickly.

 

Wrestling with your own mortality.

You don’t know what that means until you’ve really done it. It’s awful.

In my mind’s eye, I can see Maggie in her 80s, happy, alive and well (as far as 80 goes).

I never considered dying in my 40s.

 

I thought of writing long letters to the people I love the most, encouraging them to love, live and go on, without completely forgetting me.

I thought of some other woman (for whom I’d ultimately be grateful) loving my husband.

Loving my daughters.

Raising my daughters.

Helping them look for a wedding dress.

Holding them as they cried after their first heartbreak.

Chiding them for something they’d done wrong.

Damn it, folks. That is horrifying. I mean, soul-shattering.
My hope for you is that when you wrestle with this idea, that you’re in your 80s or 90s, not that you’ve just turned 40.

 

But, guess what?
I’m going to wrestle with my mortality in my 80s.

 

Thank God for medical advances.

Thank God for the medical professionals that I found – not on my first, but second, try.

Thank God for advancements in treating Triple Positive Breast Cancer.

 

But, I’m also going to tell you all the truth.

About my right breast mastectomy at 40.

About chemotherapy.

About radiation.

About hormone therapy.

About ovarian suppression.

About trying to fit a new identity into your already formed and well-loved self.

About temporarily giving up your career, which you love, to fight a battle you didn’t choose.

About being a mom and wife living through cancer treatment.

 

I’m going to live and share, understanding that My Happy Little Life is still happy.

I’m grateful.

I’ll be present in every moment in a way that I’ve never thought to be before.

And, you’re welcome to join me.

 

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