The word “just” had been swirling around in my mind quite a bit over the last week. I kept thinking that I must have written about it before, but wasn’t sure when. Then this memory pops up on Facebook today from my Caring Bridge journal a year ago. So many similarities, I decided to copy it over. The differences: I’ve now completed another “Go Far Woman” 5K, done another half marathon (yes I did wear an obnoxious pink tutu for #4), and recently celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. This one word “just” sparked part of the idea for my blog. It’s kind of long, but take a few minutes to review with me…
Journal entry by Mavis Frueh — 9/15/2015
The word “just” is one that I’ve become more aware of in the last year. Mostly because it’s said in a sense of being “less than” or “not good enough”….
I “just” had stage 1 cancer
I “just” had a lumpectomy
I “just” had radiation
I “just” did a 5K
Shortly after my last post, I was interviewed for WDAY. They did a story on me because of all that I’ve overcome in the last year, and I was about to do the GoFar Women 5k that weekend. When a long-time friend asked if I could be interviewed for it, I reluctantly said OK. “I don’t feel very inspiring” I said. I did the story anyway, and was glad that I did. The ‘angle’ that they used in the story is about early detection and awareness, and that made me feel good. As I said in the story, I’m not the typical face of breast cancer. I’m 41, I have young kids and a lot of life ahead of me. So if my story gets one (or hopefully a lot) more women to get checked earlier, and they have a chance to catch this early, then awesome. We often sell ourselves short. We are our own worst critics. Many times I catch myself saying things in my head (about myself) that I’d never say to another person. I have to stop and re-direct those thoughts. It’s hard to do. I’ve done 3 half marathons. 3 times I went 13.1 miles in a race, and yet I always started with the phrase “just” a half marathon. It’s not Cameron’s fault – he never rubs it in my face that he’s going to do his 12th FULL marathon – he never makes me feel like it’s not enough. That’s all on me, all in my head. The shift needs to be on the emphasis in the words – from “I JUST did a half marathon” to “I just DID a half marathon!” This is a phrase that I will get to use again next year. As I get stronger and am able to train more, I am confident that I can do it. And I will wear obnoxious pink clothing and perhaps a pink tu-tu… because if it makes another 41 year old realize that this is a disease that doesn’t care how old you are, then I’m MORE successful than whatever my time ends up being.
In the past year, a strangely large number of people I know have been impacted by breast cancer. A neighbor/friend, co-worker of Cameron’s and neighbor/friend/co-worker’s sister, another friend’s sister, and myself. When you think of the stats, 1 in 8 women get breast cancer- that’s kind of mind-blowing. Do you know more than 8 women? I do. So I guess as I age, the odds of it happening will likely increase. It just seemed odd to hit all at once, within a short span of time, and all of us are younger than you’d expect. Is a mammogram uncomfortable? Yes. But guess what? – It’s less uncomfortable than cancer. It’s less uncomfortable than a mammogram after cancer. It takes maybe 15 minutes max. Take the time for yourself to have this done. October is breast cancer awareness month, so it will be in the news and will be talked about more than it normally is. Use that as your reminder, at least to make the appointment. Do it for yourself, for your kids, your family – whatever the reason, just do it.
Last month, we celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary. 20 years! It happened to be the first day of school and Dallas had Cross Country practice, but it was still nice. I remember the day. I remember how it was the fastest day of my life. All of that planning and it was over in a snap. If you asked us then where we’d be in 20 years, none of this would have been on our list. But it shaped us into who we are today. So when I’m asked “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I don’t have an answer. Why? Because I never imagined 10 years ago that I’d be a cancer survivor today. I will go with the flow more. I will plan less. I will love more. I will worry less. Lots will change in the next 10/20 years. Who knows, maybe I’ll have written a book by then. 10 years from now I could be a mother-in-law. We never know what life will throw our way. But whatever it is, it shapes who we are. Peace be with you today.