“Keep Swimming!”

There are people you meet in your life – and even some you don’t actually meet… that make a world of difference for you.

I saw this today and it made me think of some of the people I have met over the last year.  Some of them don’t talk to each other any more, but I talk to them all.   It’s just who I am.

Today I couldn’t get a phrase, shared by one of those on-line friends, out of my head.

This has been a tough week for me.  It happens to the best of us.  I know I am usually pretty positive, but this week it has been harder than normal.  So when I shared some of my struggles she said to me…

I thought about it for a while.  And you know what?  It made perfect sense.  She has had plenty of struggles of her own.  Actually, she has had more than her fair share, but she brings it all to the table in the Cowden’s support group.  She shares her ups and downs, her struggles and celebrations, and she just keeps right on swimming.

I think, to some extent that is what we have to do.  Look it in the face, whatever it is… take  a deep breath and keep on swimming.

Today is my birthday.  I turned 39.  And I am proud to say it.  I have no intention of staying here either.  Next year will be 40, and so on and so on.

But with my birthday comes a flood of emotion.  This is just over a year since my Cowden’s Syndrome diagnosis.  It has been just over a year since mine and Meghan‘s lives were forever changed by the news that we carry a PTEN mutation, and that our bodies are inclined to create benign and malignant tumors – all over.

Keep Swimming…

It has been eight months since the “prophylactic bilateral mastectomy,” which turned out to be a life saving operation when the pathology revealed stage 1 DCIS.  I have almost adjusted to “the new girls,” but with each change of season comes the realization that the landscape of my body is forever changed.  Old familiar sweaters need to be replaced.  Nothing is quite where it used to be.

Keep Swimming…

It has been six months since the  complete hysterectomy.  The one Cowden’s Syndrome called for – way before its time.  So as my body celebrates 39 – my hormones clock in somewhere around 55.  And with no hormone replacements in the cards, we are learning to get used to each other.  Not uncommon for me to go from a turtleneck to a t-shirt.  Good thing there aren’t too many clothes to pick from.

Keep Swimming…

My birthday has been charged with emotion for years.  Ever since we lost my sweet cousin Meghan to Leukemia at the age of 6, it has been a harder than normal day.  Despite my best efforts, at some point emotion overtakes me.  I have always been grateful for our deep connection – so deep that I named my daughter for her.  But, somehow 21 years fade and the feelings are that of yesterday.  Oh, how I miss her.

“Angel Meghan” – 1987

Keep Swimming….

My Meghan faces scary appointments in the upcoming months, as we determine if her thyroid nodules are growing or stable.  Her health is always a tenuous issue, but her smile and positive attitude make it easier to press on.  I wait for word on my spleen and my kidney… silent benign tumors that will either prompt more organ removal… or not.

Keep Swimming…

GiGi fell during the storm.  Two weeks ago today we were very scared.  Today she walked with help around the dining room table.  Her feet still work, she was excited to discover.  Surely this is a realization worth celebrating.  Happy birthday to me.

Keep Swimming…

We went to Midland beach today with a few small things.  A donation a friend from New Jersey had sent, as well as a few things Meghan and I picked up this morning.  Sometimes paying it forward is the best birthday gift you can give yourself.  If everyone gives just a little – time, money, supplies – whatever you can… it makes a world of difference.  It matters.

These people.  The people of Staten Island, and Breezy, and the Rockaways, and all the other coastal communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy,  they certainly are showing their ability to…

…Keep Swimming…

Such an intense day.  At times I laughed.  At times I cried.  At times I was proud.  At times I was sad.  Life is changing every single day.  The ones you love, the places you are comfortable, and the people you are comfortable with – all transient.

I looked over my blog today.  It has truly been a journey.  And if you got this far you are reading my…

Who knew I had this much to say?
Amazing you people find this interesting! 🙂 But I am grateful to have you.

Tonight I am reflective.  I am enjoying my family and my wine.  I am thankful.  And I am tired.

It has been a long year.  But a productive one.  A year unlike any I had ever imagined.  The journey here is far from over.  I am thankful for my close friends, and my cyber friends.  I am thankful for those of you who read, who I will never know.  I am thankful for reality checks.  I am thankful for celebrations, and laughter and tears –  for they all make me who I am.

This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.  Cowden’s Syndrome, like life, requires patience, flexibility, and endurance, as well as a well-rounded view of reality.

I am trying – with a little help from my friends.

2 thoughts on ““Keep Swimming!”

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