If you were given the odds of 1 in 100,000 would you buy a lottery ticket? Well, I “won” the cancer lottery with those odds. It is not a fun lottery by any means, but it makes me shake my head that with those odds, I was diagnosed on October 2nd, 2019 (on my husband’s birthday no less) with multiple myeloma.
Six years prior, I was diagnosed with Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUs), which can develop into multiple myeloma, and it requires constant monitoring to ensure it does not develop into cancer. For a lack of a better word, I was lucky to go in every six months for blood work to maintain that my numbers were in the safe zone. When the tests came back with abnormalities, my care team ran more tests, and I was diagnosed. After the initial shock wore off, I was able to wrap my head around what was happening: I was one of the few people whose MGU developed into cancer.
I had a moment of reckoning where I had to remind myself that there is nothing I can personally do beyond this point. But I knew I could refocus my attention on what matters most: my family. But we know what happens when you just get a hold of life, right? A curveball is thrown your way.
Almost a year to the date I was diagnosed, my youngest child Victoria, a new mom, came to my door. Puffy eyed and clearly upset, my first instinct was to teasingly ask, “what you’re pregnant already?” No, it was cervical cancer. I was absolutely devastated. Any mother would tell you that if you had the power to take pain away from your child, you would not even hesitate to do so. I would do anything for my children. Doctors had said I would never have any more children after my first born, so she was my miracle baby: born nine years later and six weeks early.
In life, we cannot control the way things unfold. The only choice we have is the way we react, and I choose to inject joy and laughter into any situation that calls for it.
Not long after Victoria’s cancer journey merged with mine, we enrolled in an online Look Good Feel Better workshop. Since we do not live to far from one another, and because I can never get enough of my children, we attended the workshop together as we are in each other’s bubbles. As both participants as well as each other’s support system, we sat at the dining table and learned valuable information on how to best take care of our skin, apply makeup in a safe and hygienic way, and more importantly—were in the digital company of other women dealing with similar issues to us. During a pandemic when the ability to connect has been so difficult, this was such a treat.
While it is far from ideal, I am grateful that I can share such a life-changing moment with my daughter. Cancer can be very alienating if you do not know many others who can relate to how you are feeling, and I get to share those weird and complex feelings with someone who means the world to me. Through this experience I was given a very valuable gift: the opportunity to grow even closer with my daughter, not only as mother and daughter, but as women.
From today until March 31st, you have the special opportunity to support women facing cancer, like Laura Jean & Victoria by entering the 'Spring has Sprung' contest with our friends at French Dressing Jeans. For a chance to win 1 of 3 prizes and unlock a $1 donation in support of LGFB, visit your local boutique and post a picture of your in-store purchase on FB! Don't forget to tag @fdjfrenchdressingjeans! Head over the French Dressing Jeans' Facebook page to find out more.