Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#byefallopian

Won't happen to me. I mean it could happen to me. Actually the odds aren't in my favor and it could very likely happen to me.

I'm 36. I'm healthy. In pretty good shape. Take care of myself. This is going to sound dramatic but, cancer doesn't care. 

My Mom is a cancer survivor. Twice over. Once breast, once ovarian. If you know anything about ovarian cancer (which we didn't until September 23, 2016) it's silent. It gives you no indication that it's there, shows up on absolutely no tests. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

So I have one degree of separation (maybe if it's my mom it's less than one degree, have to ask Kevin Bacon) from a genetically linked disease that is the fifth leading cause of death for women. For most women, ovarian cancer doesn't end well because by the time they find it, it's too late. So I have two options, I can wait and see or I can take charge of my health. I'm not very patient. I'm not a 'wait and see' kind of gal. I'm taking charge. 

After consulting with my OB/GYN, a gynecological oncologist, and the doctors my mom has seen in the last year, we've set a date for the first steps. I don't think I will miss my Fallopian tubes when they're gone (the surgery is called a Salpingectomy for those keeping score at home). Because doctors now think a lot of ovarian cancer originates there, I'm good with letting them go. The surgery is minor and I get to lay in bed for a couple of days so it's basically a vacation.

Starting Friday, I will get an ultrasound and a blood test done every three months for forever. And in 5-10 years I'll be writing about a full hysterectomy and everything that comes with it.

It's a lot to take in in a day. But this is what prevention looks like for me.

I'm pretty sure both of my grandmothers are rolling over in their graves while I put all my business out on the interwebs. They would have sooner died than talk about their lady parts in person or on the internet. But not talking about these things doesn't get us anywhere. Silence prevents nothing. So I'm talking. I'm sharing my journey because it's part of me and who I am and if one person reads it and thinks 'huh... maybe I should look into xyz' then it's worth it. Plus, hoo-ha, vagina, uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, they're fun words to type.

I was curious why the computer autocorrected my spelling of Fallopian tubes and always capitalized the F. Well... they're named after an Italian anatomist who first described them... his name is Gabriello Fallopio. He died in 1562. The more you know. 


Monday, October 2, 2017

be the good.

I boycott carpools in favor of time with my kids in the car in the mornings. They're captive. We listen to music, talk, review spelling words, set the tone for the day. I love this time. They'd probably rather ride to school with their friends. Every morning right before they get out I say the same thing. 'Have a great day guys, I love you. Be kind and brave. Be the good'.

There aren't the right words for me to try to help my kids understand why one (cowardly, disgusting, pathetic excuse for a) human being would fire an automatic weapon from a hotel room killing almost 60 people and injuring more than 500. I can't explain that to them because I can't explain it at all. It's evil. Hate. Anger. It's unexplainable.

I found myself angry this morning. Angry for those people whose lives have been taken, and the lives ruined by this completely and totally senseless violence. Angry that this is the world we live in. Angry that we are raising three kids in this world.

It got me thinking about those last words I say to them every day: be the good. What does it mean to 'be the good'? Do I need to explain to them what that means? Do I need to elaborate so that I ensure that my kids are the good in the world? They are words that resonate with me. Three easy, short words that mean so very much. I started a running list of what 'be the good' means to me and to us. Being the good doesn't mean you have to shell out thousands of dollars to help someone, being the good doesn't have to cost anything at all. Here's what I came up with:

Smile at strangers. 
Hold the door for people. 
Don't park in a fire lane. 
Share. 
Work hard. 
Help people. 
Return your shopping cart to the cart corral. 
Reserve judgement. 
Listen. 
Be compassionate. 
Forgive people. 
Obey traffic signals.
Wash your hands. 
Throw your trash away. 
Laugh at yourself. 
Be humble. 
Don't text and drive. 
Offer to help. 
Roll your eyes less. 
Tell the truth.
Listen to your conscience.
Make eye contact.
Don't interrupt.
Try new things.
Keep your promises.
Respect one another.
Be grateful.
Use your manners.
Admit when you are wrong.


We are all guilty of it. So often we get lost in our own shuffle; in our on chaos that we forget some of these things I listed. And when I remind my kids every morning, I remind myself too.

I can't fly to Vegas and hug grieving families or pay medical bills. But I can be the good. Making change on a big scale can start small. As small as being the good and teaching our kids to be the good too.

That list above is a running list. So friends, what did I miss? What do we need to add to ensure our kids know the importance of being the good in the world?

List additions from friends post posting

hug more
say thank you
tell people they're doing a great job
perform random acts of kindness
feed the hungry
hold hard onto your people
compliment strangers and mean it
be generous
be grateful
always assume people have the best of intentions
leave places nicer than when you got there
be a voice for the voiceless
don't assume; be willing to listen and learn
be patient
go out of the way to be friends with someone who is different from you
extend grace
love and respect yourself