I moved in with my daughter and her new family, waking up with Theo during the night and bringing him into my daughter for feedings. During the day I went shopping, cooked meals and helped my daughter and her husband with anything that needed to be done.
I can truly say that was the most joyful week of my life! At the end of the week I left them with a stocked refrigerator and the promise to be on call for the next several months. The plan was that I would take care of Theo three days a week when my daughter, also a school psychologist, returned to work in the fall.
Well, you know the saying - Man plans and God laughs. We were having the hottest summer on record in San Diego and we were all having difficulties sleeping. One night towards the end of June I was so hot I took my nightgown off and lay bare on top of the bed. My hand just happened to rest on top of my left breast and I felt something with the tip of my finger. Naturally I leaned over to have my husband feel it, and he confirmed that it was definitely something there.
I was at the Clinic the very next morning for a mammogram and sonogram. It was surreal! The staff at Scripps were wonderful to me and fast-tracked everything. I had a biopsy the very next day which confirmed that I had breast cancer that had already spread to at least one lymph node.
My husband and I flew to Texas to say goodbye to my mother who had end-stage Alzheimer's, because we knew I would be starting chemotherapy soon.
The tests showed that I have triple negative breast cancer, which is very aggressive, so they wanted to start me on a strong course of chemo immediately. They told me that I would be losing my hair, but honestly at that point I was more concerned with not losing my life.
My hair began to fall out in clumps within 10 days of starting chemo, so I just went to my hairdresser and had him shave off what was left of my hair.
I remember sitting in his chair, crying as I saw the locks of hair fall to the ground.
I didn't realize how emotionally devastated I would feel upon the loss of my hair.
I did not want to be that woman walking around in public and having people stare at me and feel sorry for me.
At the clinic they had given me some head coverings, and I had picked some up at a local wig shop. But honestly they were really ugly and made me feel even more depressed.
Fortunately my daughter found your website and ordered some colorful turbans for me online. It was like a lifeline had been thrown to me. I decided to use the turbans as a starting point for a new look - I call it Cancer Chic!
I was done with tight skinny jeans and ready for a new look with tunic tops and flowing pants.
Somehow I still feel very attractive and most people are surprised to find that I have cancer because I still look so healthy. I work out with a personal trainer twice a week and go to yoga with my husband at least once a week.
Last week, while waiting to have my blood drawn at the lab a man around my age actually asked me out, not realizing I was married because I wasn't wearing any jewelry.
When I told him that not only was I married, but I was being treated for breast cancer he was genuinely surprised. He said he thought that the turban I was wearing was just a colorful headdress, and when I passed him in the lobby on my way out he called out, "You look terrific Liz!"
I know this seems like such a small thing, but it really lifted my spirits. It's important that I still feel attractive because it makes me feel like I'm still myself, and that I haven't turned into someone who is defined by her cancer.
I have already bought six turbans and I'm thinking of adding one of the more colorful batik prints to my collection.
I feel strong, I feel healthy and loved and even still feel attractive most days.
My favorite inspirational quote is from my mother who passed away this past summer.
She always said, "It's not important how beautiful you are, but how beautiful you feel you are.
If you feel beautiful, and carry yourself like you're beautiful, others will perceive you as so."