Breast Cancer

Openness and Honesty

BaldieI love to wear hoodies, always have. But right now, the attached hood feels like a magical creation. A bald head gets cold fast, really fast. I had no idea how much heat I lost out of the top of my head until I lost all of my hair! Being able to flip up the hood as soon as I’m cold, is just fantastic. And equally, when a hot flash takes hold, removing the hood is glorious. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this…

Yesterday was my younger brother’s birthday and the cousins we’re happily Facetiming each other. Singing songs, giggling and happily chatting. I was in my usual spot, in the bed resting (hoodie not covering my head) when my oldest brought the phone to me. She motioned for me to put my hoodie on.

Quick note here… We love my bald head around here. It’s become the new normal for a while and the kids are use to it now. I don’t cover it unless I’m cold. With the exception of the little kiddos, like if I have to go to the kid’s school, I’ll throw on a hat. Honestly, most everyone knows at I have cancer, the kids friends and families all know. But I don’t want the kids to feel like they have to answer more questions raised by other kiddos. Maybe it’s my way of protecting them a bit, as I think they are dealing with quite enough with their mom having cancer. My oldest is pretty tuned into this as well, sweet kid…

So, back to Facetiming… I flipped my hoodie on and happily said hi to my sweet nieces. Then Kate asked them if they wanted to see my bald head. So taking off the hood, they both smiled and giggled and asked why are you bald? That one is easy to answer, that I have cancer and the medicine they are giving me is super strong to make the cancer go away, but it also makes my hair fall out – but it will grow back. Then, as only a sweet 4 year old can ask, “Aunt Shannon, why do you have cancer?” My response was that I don’t know, I just have it. But I’m taking medicine to make it go away. After sending me love the conversation quickly went back to singing and the kids once again went back to chatting.

Oh my goodness, I love the openness and honestly of little ones. It makes life easier to deal with when you can be open and honest. My sweet niece asked the question we all ask, why? I wish there was a simple answer. Like oh, I are too many bags of chocolate chips, or too much sugar, or too much non-organic food, or too much fried food, or I had trouble breast feeding, or too much stress at certain points in my life. Truth is, we just don’t know.

But one day we will. The research that Jason and I and others are doing shows so much improvement in finding what is causing cancer and how to fight it. One day, I’m guessing in the next ten years we will know so much more. And the methods of treating cancer (like Immunotherapy and targeted drugs) will be so different and will make how I’m receiving chemo look archaic. And I’m going in Monday for genetic testing, because I need to know if I have the “breast cancer” gene or any other.

But for now, let’s keep the channels of openness and honestly flowing. Let’s ask the hard questions and be okay with saying, we just don’t know something. I think it helps us become more comfortable in our own skin when we can be open and honest. So don’t hesitate to ask me a question. I’ll happily answer, even if it’s a tough or uncomfortable one or I just don’t know the answer. You should hear the questions I ask my sweet oncologist about… Pretty sure I made her blush at my last appointment. 😉

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2 Comments

  • Reply Pilar Moseley February 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Ok, here goes… You know how the Bible says God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…? Sometimes I ponder this when hard things happen to good people. I wonder, would a super strong faith cause Him to test my strength in Him causing me to rely fully on His promises or rather make an example of me to show others that I trust God in the worst or circumstances. Like, you have handled your diagnosis and treatment with grace, strength and hope. You have been positive and humble and have faith in your healing. Does that make sense, at all?

    • Reply Shannon February 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Hey Pilar, it does make sense. In my humble opinion, I firmly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. The good and the bad. And each one of these things that happen (be it a conversation, something you read, a good or bad experience or even a cancer diagnosis) is a learning experience for each of us. If we look at our lives and truly learn and reflect (not re-live, regret and repeat) from all that we experience and are constantly seeking knowledge in how to better ourselves and our hearts and minds, then we are better equipped to handle what life offers up to us. Good or bad. Live in the present, whatever that may be and learn from it. God (he or she or neither – as I don’t know that an entity can have a gender assigned…) doesn’t give us or allow us to have cancer. Our bodies and environment do. My belief is if there is a God, that there is nothing but love. Pure. Love. Who has no need to test us in any way shape or form. And loves each of us (regardless of religion) in such an unconditional way, that our human minds cannot wrap our heads around it. I believe that God provides healing for us as well, but also guidance in directions to help us heal, for our minds and our bodies. We just have to look at the simplest things for it… I don’t have all the answers, nobody truly does. But I have had a peace about this from the beginning, which stemmed from inner peace with myself before the diagnosis. But my peace doesn’t guarantee that my body will be healed, it’s a peace that whatever happens will be what is meant to happen. But in the mean time, I’ve been guided toward amazing doctors, wonderful supportive women who have walked in my shoes and a fight in me that burns like a wild fire, even on the bad days. Lots of love to you!!

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