My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

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Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure-measure a year?

-Rent, “Seasons of Love”

This is the second version of this post.  The first one I wrote was more angry, bitter and sad.  It recounted all of the challenges I’ve been through in the last year.  The memories of the pain, the loss and fear.  Isn’t that what cancer brings after all?  Isn’t that its purpose?

Then I remembered the promise I had made to myself a year ago, Saturday (August 1st will be one year since I heard, “you have cancer”).  That no matter what happened during this time, I would not let cancer win.  I would find the joy and laughter in every day.  No matter how grim the news, how foggy the brain, how painful the wounds, I would find a reason to smile.

With this in mind, I would like to measure my year, my five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, not in pain and resentment but in love.

1. My husband, Ken.  There is no way I could have gotten through this year without him.  He has supported me in every way possible; with love, hugs, kisses, listening, being a shoulder to cry on, a shoulder to punch when I couldn’t bare my life.  He was a nurse, a medicine dispenser and he changed my drains and bandages.  When I couldn’t stand up for very long he took on the majority of the household duties, even after a long work day.  He was my second brain when chemo ate my memories and mental planner.  He came to doctor appointments, asked questions but mostly held my hand (and his breath) through all of the good and bad news.  He worries, I know that but he tries to not let me see.  He’s practical and a problem solver but I know, deep down, he’s scared.  But he stays even tempered for me.  He doesn’t have to.  I love you, Ken.  Thank you for taking our marriage vows, “the for better or for worse” part, seriously.

Photo courtesy of Julia Newman at Julia Newman Photography

Photo courtesy of Julia Newman at Julia Newman Photography

2. My parents.  My mom and dad live close by so they have been there for everything; for appointments, for car service, to cook meals, to do laundry, to watch Oliver…everything!!!!  I’m not sure I could have handled the stress of having cancer, getting treatment and raising Oliver without them.  They have gone above and beyond and I’m so grateful to them.

DSCN22233. My family.  My brother Jesse, my aunt Ava, my mother-in-law Mary, her sister Betty, my sister-in-law Jen and her new wife and my new sister-in-law Kelsey and extended family.  They have been there for moral support, childcare, prayers, good thoughts/vibes and more.  They were constantly thinking about me and my recovery, rooting for me all the way.

4. My aunt Vickie.  Vickie has been my hero throughout this whole process.  On the day I was diagnosed by the most awful doctor that has ever lived, she literally put me in her car and drove me to NYU to make sure I got the best care possible.  She has been coming with me to appointments ever since, advocating for me, taking notes, offering advice, asking questions, researching….  She calls me at least once a week to make sure I’m doing well.  I don’t know where I’d be without her support.  I am so lucky to have an Aunty Wickster.

Me with Vickie when I was pregnant with Oliver

Me with Vickie when I was pregnant with Oliver

 5. My best friends.  I have had all of my best friends since childhood.  It’s amazing how our relationships have stood the test of time.  Lee, Loren, Nicole, Inna, are like sisters to me.  I can tell them anything and rely on them for emotional support and a good laugh.  When they found out about my cancer, some of them cried with me.  Some of them kept a strong face in front of me.  I don’t know what they did in private.  But they were my rock and surrounded me during this time and gave me strength.  They are the best friends a girl can hope for.

Me and Lee when we were kids.

Me and Lee when we were kids.

Inna, me, Nicole and Loren and Nicole's wedding

Inna, me, Nicole and Loren and Nicole’s wedding

6. My doctors and nurses.  Sometimes people call those who are undergoing cancer treatment, “warriors.”  I think the real warriors are those who are fighting for us all and my doctors and nurses fit into this category.  Dr. Guth, Dr. Jhaveri, Dr. Perez, Olivier, Heidi and Nina and all of the others I have met through scans and blood work.  They are all wonderful because while they don’t mince words, they are optimistic and knowledgeable.  They work hard to make sure they are doing the best they know how to for me while taking my life and lifestyle into consideration.  A special shout out goes to Nina, my chemo nurse, who is like a mother to me and Heidi, who has become a dear friend of mine.  When they talk about the good things that come because of cancer, I think they mean these people.

Nina

Nina

Dr. Jhaveri

Dr. Jhaveri

IMG_72437. Friends from along the way.  Maybe we went to college together, grad school, elementary school.  Or we met while I was acting and working in restaurants.  We were in a play together.  I taught in your classroom.  However we met, however we are connected, many of you have come out of the woodwork and have been incredibly kind to me.  With your words, prayers, positive vibes, personal stories, gifts…it has all touched my heart.  To know that I literally have hundreds of people rooting for me and wishing me well is a powerful thing.  I thank you all for what you have done for me and I am glad we can stay connected.

8. The new friends I have made.  I never wanted to be in the breast cancer club but I was given free entry and thrown through the door.  But inside were some of the most amazing women I have ever met.  Through your blogs our conversations and our chance meetings, you have inspired me, educated me, made me think, laugh, cry, scream.  I am grateful that you have welcomed me warmly into this club even though you’d rather not have any more members.

9. Oliver.  What can I say that I haven’t said so many times on this blog?  I am the luckiest mother in the world to have a little boy who is so loving, kind and intuitive.  Oliver kisses my boo-boos to make me feel better.  He has wiped my tears when I just couldn’t hold them back.  He snuggles me and makes nice to me so I will feel happy.  He makes funny jokes, sounds and faces so that I will laugh.  And I do.  I laugh all the time.  He has brought light into a dark time in my life.  There are no words for the love I feel for him.  There is no hug strong enough.  No kiss sweet enough.  I will just have to try and be the most incredible mother I can be to live up to and raise the kind of man I know he can be.  It is my pleasure and honor to fight to stay alive so that I can watch him grow.

IMG_4131 IMG_2638 IMG_4979 IMG_1261 IMG_5606 IMG_1778Thank you, to all of the people who have been in my life this year.  You have helped me fight.  You have helped me mourn.  You have helped me celebrate.  You have helped me measure the last five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes in love!

Remember the love
(Oh, you got to, you got to remember the love)
Remember the love
(You know that life is a gift from up above)
Remember the love
(Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

Seasons of love
Seasons of love
(Measure your life, measure your life in love)

-Rent, “Seasons of Love”

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9 thoughts on “Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

  1. Thanks for spreading reminders of gratitude!

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your supporters. Those are the people who make the diffence and help us heal. Like you, I wouldn’t know what to do without them. It’s also interesting how each person played a different role and how each one of those roles contributed to your recovery in different ways. It’s truly a blessing to be loved by one person, but to be loved and cared for by many is a fortune many are denied. I am happy you have so much love in your life.

  3. Congratulations on making it through one year with such style and grace! This was a wonderful reminder for me to be thankful instead of being bitter and grumpy (not even halfway through my first year). You’re a warrior.

    • Thank you so much! I am grateful a lot of the time. But it’s ok to be grumpy and bitter as well. I’ve been feeling more of that in every day life lately. It’s just the phase that I’m in at the moment. But it’s natural. Thank you for reading!

  4. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

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