Yesterday afternoon was a colossal mess of epic proportions in the Petzold home. [Warning: objects in this post may contain bodily fluids and otherwise yucky things.] It all happened within a window of a half hour. Two of my three beautiful angel children were having bathroom issues at the EXACT same time. (I'll spare you the horrific details, but just know that one of them involved a bathtub. GAK! And although I'll chat with ya about your healthy colon and what your poop should look like, I don't actually deal with poop well. In fact, it sometimes sends me over the edge!) Another one of my perfect, smart, lovely children was asking for help with math. There are many things wrong with this. First of all, we were all in the bathroom. With major issues, remember? Next problem, this teacher mommy is what you might label as el-stinko at math. I am quite certain I have an undiagnosed learning disability in math, so needless to say, we usually save math homework for Daddy. (Yes, I'm a teacher, and yes, I taught third grade, but I just question my abilities, and therefore, strongly dislike helping with math homework.) So, as tensions were escalating (mostly mine) and I was literally being pulled in three different directions, I removed myself from the situation in order to take a few deep breaths before coming completely unglued. This little break involved folding laundry while catching up on a little Ellen. (Gosh, I love that show! Isn't she totally hilarious?) As I paired socks, cooled my jets, and danced along with Ellen, I was hit with a realization. This? Right here? The poop, the bath, the math, the laundry, all at once...this is why I'm here. Not glorious, but my kids need me. That's why I'm here. Don't get me wrong, when my husband is home and we can run a zone defense, we do, and God bless him for being so willing to work with me! But holy moly, I need to be around here, and I will be. (And I'll help you edit your papers, teach you reading strategies, and spelling tricks all day long, just don't ask me to do geometry!)

I overheard a woman talking today (ok, I was TOTALLY eavesdropping) about how much she had to do. She griped on and on about her work, her kids, their activities, and more. I just thought to myself, "Sheesh! How about this, lady? You're healthy (and pretty and skinny)! You have a job! You get to go to your kids activities! Now hush up and be grateful, for crying out loud!" I wish I had the guts to say that to her, but we were getting ready to work out and I didn't want her to kick me or something.

Not a day (actually not an hour) goes by that I don't think of cancer in one way or another. It has become part of my life. This fact makes me want to say lots and lots of really bad words. It makes me want to stomp my feet, kick things, and cry. I get so white-hot mad that thoughts of cancer are still part of my day. I don't let the "what ifs" get me down, but they are definitely there. When my incision from my surgery has a random pain, I am reminded of that scary week in the hospital. When my port (yes, I still have it) gets bumped by my baby, I am reminded that we're leaving it in "just in case". Well, dammit, I don't want it in my life anymore!!! I am proud beyond explanation when my son writes or prays about how thankful he is for chemo, but at the same time, I'm enraged that he even knows the word chemo at 9 years old. I love making friends with fellow survivors, but when I hear of one of them having a recurrance, it fills me with fear. That could totally be me. I had Stage IV. There were lymph nodes involved. It metastasized.

Instead of letting these thoughts poison me, I choose to switch my focus. I WILL NOT let cancer cause me to live in fear. I will, instead, enjoy every moment. I will be grateful for my life, my family, my job, my health. I will try my very hardest not to be the lady griping about all that she has to do. Instead, I will celebrate being busy. I will attempt to find good in all situations, even those that have me wiping bottoms and struggling through math problems (at the same time!). Cancer may be a thought that enters my head each day, but it will not define me. Call me a friend. Call me a mother. Call me a wife. Call me a daughter. Call me a survivor. Heck, call me an ass kicker! Because if cancer attempts to threaten my life again, I'll wail on it again! I've got way too much to do here on Earth to let cancer take me away.  

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