The other day, a neighbor from down the street walked down to talk to me while I was cleaning out my garage and watching the kids play. Her daughter goes to school with my kids. I didn't know if she knew that I have cancer and I didn't say anything until she asked if I was working right now. I told her I was taking time off because I have cancer. That's when she said that she knew, my husband had told her husband (my husband gets around more than I know, apparently).
She then told me a story about a woman that she knows that has breast cancer. This woman is young as well and also has a very aggressive cancer. She opted for a single mastectomy. She has to have chemo every week - and she had chemo before surgery as well. She told me how her friend lost her hair.
And then it happened. My neighbor told me how "BRAVE" this woman is that she knows. I simply said, "Well, when you have cancer, you have no other choice BUT to be brave."
And I meant it. Because, I really don't feel that I have a choice. Especially with young children around - I have to be brave, I have to go on, I have to make each day as normal as possible.
But, what I WANTED to say is, "I'M BRAVE TOO! LOOK AT ME!!" I felt suddenly jealous of this other woman that I don't even know! How dare she be labeled as "braver" than me!
It's kind of like when someone says their kid is smart. As a mother, you suddenly have the overwhelming urge to say that your child is smarter! "My kid's a genius!" you practically blurt out. "See that kid in the corner eating glue? Ya, he's mine - he's SUPER SMART!! He's only eating that glue to explore the viscosity of the substance!" Your kid could be as dumb as a pile of bricks and you still feel the need to "one up" the other kid.
And that's how I felt. I was suddenly MUCH braver, in my mind, than this other woman I've never met. Suddenly it was a bravery contest! Oh she only had ONE boob chopped off? Hmmm...well, I had BOTH of mine chopped off - so HA! Take That! And I am having chemo too! That's right! And um, my hair will fall out eventually! Ha! That's right. I'm brave and stuff too!
I don't know why I suddenly felt like defending my bravery. It must be some latent personality disorder rearing its ugly head all of a sudden. I think I'll have to blame it on temporary insanity.
Because, the truth is, I don't really FEEL brave most of the time. People tell me all the time that I'm brave but I don't really see it that way. I'm just living my life and trying to live through this the best I can. If some people want to label that as brave, I guess I'm okay with that. But, just know, that I don't come by bravery naturally.
Boob Count: 125
Hair Status: Coming out in CLUMPS!