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Debbie's List

List Start

The gift I've received is...: 
GIFTS
The story behind this gift is...: 

This is the list that represents the turning point in my cancer experience....

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
LOSSES
The story behind this loss is...: 

    

My Husband

The gift I've received is...: 
My relationship with my husband.
The story behind this gift is...: 

When you're been married for two decades, you know life and marriage are about getting through stuff.   Our relationship weathered this storm with amazing tenacity.  Because it wasn't always easy, but the bond never broke and the love was always there.   There is no greater gift than to realize that you never have to doubt - it's the surest thing in my life and that's all that matters. 

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
But there are still moments of difficulty.
The story behind this loss is...: 

It's hard to be patient and understanding of someone else's pain when you're experiencing so much of your own.  It' also extremely difficult to "do this" to him and my children.  I'm the wife and mother, the one who looks out for everyone else's emotional needs - I don't like being the one who needs all the support and nurturing.  I feel guilty for needing what I need.

My Body

The gift I've received is...: 
My relationship with my body.
The story behind this gift is...: 

I got a flat tummy and two "lifted" breasts, which look better in clothes than they did before the surgeries.

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
Who said I wanted to pay this price?
The story behind this loss is...: 

I got a flat tummy and two "lifted" breasts, which, when I look in the mirror, look like I got run over by a truck.  Just because my clothes cover the scars, doesn't mean I don't see them every day of my life.

Giving Back

The gift I've received is...: 
Because of the incredible support I received at Overlook Hospital during my hospitalization, I want to give back.
The story behind this gift is...: 

My first act of giving back was simple:  I made an appointment to donate blood at the hospital within an hour of the deadline to be eligible for a prize.  Just hours later I got a phone call - I had won admission to the Jets Training Facility.  As my husband is a 30-year Jets season ticket holder, he and my son were thrilled.  

 

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
What could be negative about that?

Saying "Yes" to Myself

The gift I've received is...: 
I want to do what I want and stop saying "No" to myself.
The story behind this gift is...: 

The decision to donate blood was motivated by more than just the need to give back.  I also realized that I had always wanted to do it, but for some reason never made the time.  I just didn't make it a priority.  So, finally doing it made me feel connected to my own life and what I wanted to do with it.  Then, when I learned I had won a prize that made my husband and son so happy, it was extra validation that I was on the right path! 

  

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
Again, no down side.
The story behind this loss is...: 

But figuring out what you want out of life isn't easy.  It's hard work and takes thinking outside the box.  

The Amazing People I've Met

The gift I've received is...: 
I've met many amazing, supportive people as a result of my hospitalization.
The story behind this gift is...: 

Sarah, Kristen, Sara, Lee Ann, Lockey and others at Overlook Hospital have held me up in a way I never expected.  I have a support system which I had no idea existed the day before my mastectomy.  It's a miracle gift to find such support for both the cancer issues and other life issues. 

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
Some people don't get it.
The story behind this loss is...: 

I am scared of getting cancer again in the future.  I am scared to go through it all again.  I had a mammogram in January this year, which was awful both due to my emotions (in reliving what I went through the first time) and because the tech was an ignorant idiot (at a different facility).  Not everyone you meet is supportive and they can inflict incredible pain. 

Taking back control over my body.

The gift I've received is...: 
I'm taking back control over my body.
The story behind this gift is...: 

I signed up the family at the YMCA and started working out on the machines and taking classes.  Again, another thing I always wanted to do but never did.  Now I ask "why not?" and go do it.  

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
It's not as easy as it looks.
The story behind this loss is...: 

Okay, so I took a Pilates class.  The instructor told us to lie on our backs and raise our feet off the ground.  I couldn't make my feet budge.  It took all of my self-control to keep from sobbing and running out of the room.  Just another thing I lost that reminded me of how my body was ravaged by cancer.  Cancer stinks and it is still sneaking up on me to kick my behind. 

Working Out

The gift I've received is...: 
Keeping at it.
The story behind this gift is...: 

I'm working out and taking care of my body - I think this could lead to a sexier view of myself. 

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
This is going to take some time.
The story behind this loss is...: 

I am detached from my breasts, which seem artificial to me. 

Oncology Therapy

The gift I've received is...: 
The gift of introspection.
The story behind this gift is...: 

One year of oncology therapy - I couldn't have made it through without Kristen and Sara.  We worked so hard on so many issues - I feel like I was given a wonderful opportunity and I took it and ran with it.  I committed to one hour a week and got so much out of our time.  It's an amazing gift to realize your own strength. 

The loss corresponding to my gift is...: 
Crying a lot is no fun.
The story behind this loss is...: 

It was really hard work, lots of emotional turmoil, upset, depression.  I went through hell.  But, I shudder to think what I would have gone through without the guidance and support I received.   

Date Nights!

The gift I've received is...: 
Date Nights!
The story behind this gift is...: 

Date nights with Michael - actually on the calendar!  I probably wouldn't have pushed it without having gone through all of this; God knows I didn't before 

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