It has been difficult for me to accept charity from others on this new journey. I am always on the other side, I prefer the other side. But obviously, we are in a place where we need support. This isn’t just about me, but my family, my daughters. Sometime in the summer The Breast is Yet to Come event was born, a few friends came together and suddenly they were on to something. It was interesting being 1) on the outs of the planning (I was an event planner for a long time and am still one at heart) 2) the one the benefit was being planned for.
Evan and I were able to drive out to Liberty Hill to meet the committee (yes, that is correct, a committee was formed to support me… I still can’t wrap my head around that). The family who owns Bull Creek Brewing are so nice and the beer is pretty darn tasty. All of the ladies who joined the committee were from all walks of my life and it was amazing seeing them discuss, check items off their to-do lists, delegate various tasks…all to support me.
To prepare for the event, I wanted to find a stylish outfit to wear. I figured if I was the beneficiary for this event, I should look somewhat decent. So, what does a girl do? I go on Pinterest. I pinned the perfect outfit, from the long pink skirt, to the black and white (slightly trendy) tank top, to the perfect flower crown headband (made by Headbands of Hope…who give head bands to darling girls with cancer for every headband purchased…so if you love headbands go buy one there! They are so pretty and all for a precious cause.) I start to order my outfit, excited to have found what to wear. As the event date approaches, pieces of my outfit start to arrive. When the skirt arrives, I try it on with the top and immediately I feel like one of those women who get all googly eyed at an outfit, and have this fantasy of how it will look. Then we regular sized women, try it on and it just does not work. We cannot pull it off. I should have taken a picture of the size 0 model wearing the said fantasy outfit on Pinterest and then me a size 10-12 mom wearing it in real life. Just nope. So back to the drawing board I went and who came to the rescue? 1) my mom 2) Old Navy… why did I try to doubt Old Navy? They are the best. A flowy denim dress + my rockin lavender flower crown head band + my rainbow braided flip flops + dangling gold earrings + mascara + lip gloss and I was good to go.
After loading up my daughters and driving out to Liberty Hill with my mom in tow, we pulled in to the brewery. I was excited, my heart beating a bit faster… not entirely sure what to expect. Tents were set up everywhere, cars already starting to load the parking lot. I walk into the breezeway and see all the raffle baskets set up… really amazing raffle baskets. Then I start to see people and the hugging begins. I know I was supposed to be careful because of my system, but people wanted to see me and when things are good or bad in life, hugs are always involved. So, I hugged…so many people. When walking around I just felt so loved, so supported by everyone. I was trying very hard to keep it together, because the entire event was overwhelming. But at one point Evan said, “Look Jess is here.” Jess is a very good friend from high school, we have grown through so many phases of life together. She lives in Virginia and I see her a few times a year since her family is here. Well I hadn’t heard much from here in the last few months since my diagnosis and couldn’t figure out why. Well when I saw Jess, I just lost it. I balled my eyes out, letting every emotion from that day, every built up feeling of being overwhelmed just pour out. I hugged her neck close and then hugged her darling husband. What a surprise. It is easy to feel forgotten or swept to the side when you get diagnosed with a serious illness. Because at first everyone reaches out…the people come out of the woodworks to contact you. But then at some point it trickles down and stops. And your life is incredibly altered, but everyone else’s isn’t, so they keep on living and you feel stuck sometimes. I keep trying to keep my brain from feeling this way, because I know so many people care…clearly this event was incredible, so I know they do. But seeing my friend’s gorgeous face standing in front of me, who flew from states away to support me, was a giant reminder that I am not forgotten, I am very much loved.
The band is one of my favorites, The Square Grooves, my great friend’s dad’s band… they play covers and their own jams and it just feels like you’re hanging out at their house with a jam session. Great instruments, genuine love for playing music…Evan and I had a moment to dance together and I am so glad we stopped to enjoy each other during the business of the event.
It was the hottest day of the year, so that part was not fun. But everywhere I looked I saw people having fun…eating yummy food from Gumbos or Neighborhood Locals food truck, drinking cold beer, dancing, playing bra pong or some of the other fun lawn games. I witnessed so many different circles connect that didn’t realize we were all friends. It was a wonderful evening, I felt beautiful, I felt cared for… and most of all I felt my family was being helped get taken care of. From every corner of this event was someone that I had known during different chapters of my life…my youth pastor was there, my Godfather was there, my daughter’s pre-school teacher was there, my current neighbors were there, my husband’s cousins were there, family friends, elementary school friends, middle school friends, high school friends, my brother’s family, my parents, Evan’s siblings, and even people we didn’t know…all the love, all the support truly blew me away.
And my girls had so much fun, by the end of the night they were sticky, red-faced, sweaty cuties who had danced and played their hearts out. My husband was the life of the party, greeting everyone and making sure people were taken care of. The committee rocked it, the event was smooth, organized, and the best two things: fun and successful. Because of this event our family can breathe a little easier for a few months while I am not working and home focusing on my health battle. So near and far, whoever you are your support in any way that you choose to show it means everything to us. Thank you, merci, grazi…in a thousand languages, thank you.
And I haven't said this enough... ladies do a self-breast exam often, if you don't know how to do a proper one as your OB/GYN to show you. Do not brush off any odd signs within your body. If something seems off, go in and ask. If you don't receive the help you think you deserve, be persistent and go see someone else. Early detection can save your life.