Something stronger than me

"Pour me something stronger than me." ~Nashville

I jotted that line down last season, not long after finding out about the BRCA gene. And it came rushing back when we went to see Decoding Annie Parker.

The realism with which they portrayed her chemo treatments hit me in the gut. The swelling. The hair loss. The vomiting. The scarves. I've watched four women very close to me endure it. One still is. They were and are the strong ones. Not me.

My friend posted this photo essay in which a photographer documented his wife's battle. You can feel the heartache, almost touch the physical pain.

I don't know I'd be that strong. I don't know if I could fight like they did. I'm sure I would if it came down to it, but I only felt weakness in watching those scenes and viewing those photos. I wanted to schedule my surgeries right then and there. And as much strength as I know it will take to follow through on them, it won't be what I would need to go through chemo. To put my girls through watching that.

I can only hope they have vague memories of the days or weeks that mommy won't be able to pick them up and millions of fresh memories of the times I did, of the times I ran with them, danced with them.

Some days I feel very much like the oncologist quoted in this amazing pictorial, Before Angelina:

When I told my friends about my upcoming procedure, some of them looked at me like I was crazy, like it was a brutal mutilation. They told me to just wait and see what happens, but I told them the idea of getting the breast cancer diagnosis and having chemo was something I couldn’t face. Maybe I was a coward, but I felt like at that point I still had a choice.

I see Save the Tatas a thousand times a day and all I can think is, "Take mine away. Save me from the tatas." In many ways I've faced this reality head-on, but in many ways, I'm still trying to outrun it.

I suppose now is the time to educate myself. For me, knowledge is strength when you feel you have none. And sometimes I'm more scared than strong.

This is what real strength and fabulous hats truly look like: