Who doesn’t love a good Alanis Morissette reference? Isn’t it ironic that many of my most recent posts have centered on dealing with the unexpected and messes? This has been the prevailing theme for the past five years. Coming out brought changes galore as well as gratitude for the healing and growth that accompanied each adjustment along the way.
The arrival of fall typically is our most productive month of the year. The arrival of cooler air inspires us and celebrating our wedding anniversary is the highlight. Last year my book was at the publisher being prepared to be released. This year we created and launched a new venture called Braving Life Photography.
My wife’s vision and inspiration for this photography project includes honoring those who are fighting to be healthy, strong, and to feel peace with who they are, especially those battling cancer, those who are transgender, LGBTQ youth who are homeless, and survivors of the PULSE tragedy. The first photo session happened last month for a close family friend, age 26, who is fighting breast cancer.
I mention this venture not as a shameless plug but rather to illustrate the definition of irony. Also, it provides one of the most unwelcome examples of life imitating art I have ever seen. It is with a very heavy, but hopeful, heart to share the news that Yvette was diagnosed with breast cancer last week.
Admittedly, it has taken me longer than usual to get these thoughts together. The news is shocking and very hard to wrap our brains around. Currently we have few details and are doing what we can to wait patiently, which is not our strong suit, until we receive all results in order to create a plan for treatment.
We found out on a Friday afternoon and took the weekend to begin the process of dealing with the emotions, logistics, and resisting the urge to get ahead of ourselves. The barrage of tears, questions, and unknowns have been landing like acorns falling from the oak trees in our yard.
Given the unknowns, I made the decision to cancel my Be Fearless Weekend for Women which was planned for January. Another irony. The “Be Fearless” theme is being tested bigly this week. Yes, I said bigly.
Among the many emotions we are both feeling is fear. I expect many moments when fear and worry will be swirling in the near future and we will have to work harder than ever to find peace in this storm. However, right now, we both feel like bitch slapping fearlessness across its stupid face.
Our fight is not only against that fucking jerk called cancer but also for us to remain fearless. It is not a small task. Rest assured that in the coming days, weeks, and most likely months, our family will be exercising our “do it afraid” muscles and rolling with whatever comes our way. We cannot promise it will always be pretty or graceful but we can promise that we will get through it.
As our family begins this journey, I ask that you keep my beautiful and amazing wife first in your thoughts and prayers. If you know Yvette, you know how courageous and resolute she is when she puts her mind to something. Her strength and bravery is a comfort to us all.
Our biggest challenge is to remember that we do not have to go through this alone and to reach out when we need to. In the past, our first reaction during difficult times has been to close ranks, initiate the protective wall, and make every attempt to handle things in house.
Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Please be patient with us as we navigate through this difficult time and know that we appreciate every good thought and offer to help. As we learn more, we will share details and make our needs known. We know all too well how cancer affects families and loved ones and remember those our family has lost to this awful disease.
In typical Yvette fashion, she is already trying to help others and plans to document her own, as well as our family’s, journey. Translation- she plans to make me write about AND photograph her. That is four ironies in one blog post. If you are counting. She is stepping outside of her comfort zone and is setting the bar high for the rest of us. Follow her Braving Life Photography blog for updates and thoughts as the journey unfolds.
I will end with some good news. Rest assured, our sense of humor will not be ruined by this uninvited fuck face called cancer. Humor is our best coping tool and helps pick us up off the floor when the emotions are too much. I am happy to share that she has already used her new diagnosis to get out of bathing the dog and doing the less desirable household chores. The “C” card is a new tool in our slightly twisted tool box. Lesbians do love their tools.
This week take step back and think about the things that are truly important. You may be surprised to learn this list is much shorter than you expected. Move through your day with kindness, compassion, and a desire for peace. Above all else, be grateful for family and friends who show up and are willing to climb down in the hole with you and get dirty. We are.