January 11, 2012

Red Umbrella

In the past week and a half, I have learned two things, two very important and monumental things.  One:  I am pregnant.  This new life that grows within me is too new to be talking about, yet it is already woven so tightly into this story that keeping the news to myself would be like telling a half-truth.  I am barely four weeks pregnant.  I’m sure you’re wondering to yourself why in the world I would share this news so soon.  After miscarrying twins in July, WM & I’d agreed to keep the news quiet and close the next time around.  Well, next time around is here, and you already know.  I.  Am.  Pregnant. 

Not just pregnant, but over the moon with excitement.  That part’s important as you read on.  Very important.

I have breast cancer.  It’s stage II invasive ductal carcinoma to be precise.  What?  How?  Truthfully, I am still reeling a bit from the news and how quickly everything has moved.  In summary, I’ve had two biopsies, one for my breast and one for my lymph nodes.  The first, obviously, did not have the results I would have liked.  The second, came back clean.  Good news as that suggests the cancer has not spread elsewhere in my body.

I had a lumpectomy on Thursday.  The cancer was successfully removed.  The margin was large and clean.  Well, for the most part.  There was some non-invasive cancer that appeared a little closer to the edge of the margin than the doctor would have liked.  In the grand scheme of things, it amounts to nothing.

The grand scheme of things?  Well, with being pregnant, it unfolds something like this:

I start with a lumpectomy.  Chemotherapy will begin with my second trimester.  Apparently, you can do chemo when you’re pregnant.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.  Chemo will continue until I’m 32 weeks pregnant.  Baby Flynn is due mid-September.  I am uncertain at this time how close to full-term I will deliver.  Per Doctor O’Leary, my surgeon at the cancer center, ‘once the dust settles’, we will deal with the rest.  That means a double mastectomy and reconstruction. 

Shocked?  You’re not the only one.

I can tell you this with absolute certainty.  I can do this.  It is my goal to do so with dignity and grace.  How do I know I can do this?  I am filled less with fear and more with fierce resolve.  WM is my rock.  This past year has proven that ten times over.  There is no one-NO ONE- I would choose to travel this road with but him.  WC is my reason.  In the early days after losing Sophie, he was my reason for getting out of bed each day.   I do not want to miss out on one second of his wild and precious life.  He is the reason I will fight this disease even on the days when I find that the fight is tougher than I ever imagined.  Our baby is fuel for my fire.  What better motivation than a wee one yet to come into the world?  That, and I have a bitty angel in my corner.  Sophie’s looking out for this mama.  She is indeed. 

I need to share just one last thing.  I don’t like pink.  Ironic isn’t it?  Anything and everything having to do with breast cancer is emblazoned with the color that to me is like nails on a chalk board.  With the exception of one or two shades, pink makes my skin crawl.

Since, the moment, Dr. O’Leary delivered the news, one song has been running through my head over and over and over and over.  Red Umbrella.  Faith Hill.  I begin this battle in conjunction with my own one-woman campaign.  I already made myself a shirt.  I will wear it with great determination.  Please note, pink is distinctly absent from the design.

So let it rain, it’s pourin’ all around me
Let it fall, it aint’ gonna drown me
After all I’m gonna be okay, so let it rain
Faith  Hill   


Kelly said...

You've got lots if red umbrellas around you. xoxo

Anonymous said...

You will be in my prayers. Congrats on the pregnancy! What a wonderful thing to look forward to.

Mindy said...

Congrats on your pregnancy Holly! I am looking forward to meeting new baby Flynn. Prayers & love for you and your family.

Lynnea said...

You never cease to amaze me. You know we're all hear for you. I will return the cute BC hat embelished with pink that I got for you. I will have to find some other cute gift instead to make you smile. :) Love you!

Lynnea said...

Too bad I can't spell. That would be 'here' not 'hear'. I should reread things before I post them.

Mindy said...

Her face was beaming with excitement and she quietly sat in her place. Next to her, poised and ready for use, was a bright red umbrella. The beauty and innocence of the girl made the pastor smile as he realized the faith she possessed. No one else in the congregation had brought an umbrella.

They had all come to pray for rain, but she had come expecting God to answer with the needed rain.

Melissa said...

You did it...you made the big announcement(s)! Here's to hope and faith and love and laughter...what more does a girl need ;)