Although I had my reservations, this weekend one of my best friends and I celebrated our birthdays and also hosted an “I Beat Cancer” party. The party had been in the works since before I even started chemo, but as it drew closer, my superstitious side came out, and I wondered if it would be some kind of bad karma to celebrate “beating” cancer when the sumbitch can certainly rear its ugly head again to spite me. In the end, I went ahead with the party because, truly, that sumbitch is going to do whatever it’s going to do whether I party to its end or not. I decided to throw all superstition out the window and from here on out, error on the side of fun.
And fun I did have.
Brandy and I planned so much fun that there was a first (Girls Only) part and a second (All Welcome) part. I am loosely sworn to secrecy about the first part, but I will say that everyone should celebrate the end of a really tough year with a room full of your best girlfriends and favorite lady family members AND a paid entertainer. So yeah, that happened. And I will admit; I may have had/needed a few glasses of wine. (A few glasses of wine, after not being able to drink for the last, oh, two years due to pregnancy, nursing, surgery, chemo = a really happy Heather).
When we got to the all-inclusive party, among many inappropriate conversations (because I am nothing if not always treading that line), I think I tried desperately to hug my thanks into my loved ones. Like almost a year’s worth of thank you’s in one hug. It’s possible, you guys. This is what it looks like.
I also ran into my very first ever boyfriend, Drew Long. If it’s any indication of how seriously I took this relationship at 13, I had his name carved into my desk at home, and I still remember his birthday.
Among the obligatory greetings, Drew starts telling me that he has been reading my blog and that he’s happy to see that I’m okay.
“Ohmygosh! DREW! You were my firsteverboyfriend!”
“And my first kiss! Remember that?”
“Uh. Umm…” and he laughs some more.
I get the impression that he does not, in fact, remember our first kiss so I relay the details — because did he not lay in bed for months after replaying the events of that night in his head? Oh, just me. Oh, well.
“I do remember that,” he laughs.
That’s maybe where I should have stopped, but I didn’t. And I still don’t really regret it.
“And you FELT ME UP!”
Drew stammers, laughs, turns red.
“You did! You felt me up!”
All of my friends are acutely tuned in now.
“You’re making me blush,” Drew says.
As if I can keep the memory of my breasts alive by making Drew reflect back on our 14 year old adventures of Under the Shirt, Over the Bra, I push further. “You felt them! They’re gone now, but you know what I’m talking about!”
I’m pretty sure that’s about where the conversation ended. With Drew red-faced, shaking his head, and laughing. And that’s probably what I should have been (be?) doing too, but honestly, I think it’s hilarious. Josh wasn’t quite as amused upon hearing this story. Somewhere in the discussion, he asked me if I was going to call up all my ex-boyfriends for a recount.
And you know what? That’s not a half bad idea. I’m not really going to do it, but hear me out.
When you lose someone you love — or even a pet — it’s okay to talk freely of your loss, your grief. People relay heartwarming, funny tales of your loved one to help you cope or to give you an extra little piece of that person to carry around with you. And since you’re in such a grief-stricken state, sometimes, it’s all you talk about. When my mom died, I only wanted to talk about her, and people listened. They added to the conversation.
Well, I lost my boobs, and that’s pretty seriously sad to me. I have actually spent a little time grieving them. But noooo, I can’t post posthumous pics of them on facebook. Some would say that’s inappropriate. (Okay, it’s way over my line too.) It’s not socially acceptable for me to whip out one of my best boob stories in the spirit of coping, and we are not going to sit around the campfire with beers and honor them by each telling a good story about them. (Hey friends, can we actually do that? Just kidding. Unless we can.)
If I really tried to compile memories as Josh jokingly suggested in a Chicken Soup for the Soul: Heather’s Lost Boobs kind of edition, it would really be more a pamphlet or even a flyer because, you guys, you had to be pretty special to get a peek, and there would be few calls to make. But that’s not actually going to happen because I’m not really that weird.
So what am I left with? Harassing the first boy to ever (kind of) touch them?
Yeah, I guess.
Actually, I reran into Drew and his little brother later in the evening and had a more legit conversation that ended in a few tears. When we were puppy loving in middle school, his mom had breast cancer, and when he was too cool to be my boyfriend anymore (or maybe it was because my brother trash canned him) at 16, the Sumbitch came back, and he lost his mom. I told him that I have often thought of his mom over the last eight months, and I have. I knew exactly three things about Mrs. Long:
1) She cared enough to chaperone our middle school dances.
2) She didn’t like it when Drew and I would dance cheek to cheek, chest to chest and would often put a little space between us.
3) She packed him a well crafted lunch. Where my mom threw in a ding dong, Drew’s mom peeled and cut up kiwis.
Basically, she was a good, caring mom, and cancer did not take that into consideration. Even at my “I Beat Cancer” party, I am reminded that this is still really scary. This may or may not be over. In the meantime, I’m going to keep having fun and living life more alive than I’ve ever known. So Travis Wolfe, watch out! You’re next. Just kidding. For real. Sometimes, I like to end things on an awkward note.