A Last Time For Everything


They have started. It has been occurring to me for days that I am participating in my last _____. Some instances of this are, my last upward facing dog. The last time I’ll feel a chilly breeze bringing with it a systematic THO (look it up). The last time I will carry my (giant) baby on my back.

Now, realistically, I understand I will do these things again (minus the THO), but it will be a long recovery and I will do them with an altered body. I will have flesh that is not my own. I will be carrying only the scars to remind me of the body I was gifted at birth.

These ‘lasts’ are starting to pile up and I am finding it overwhelming. Tonight will be the last night I sleep in my bed as OG me, tomorrow will be my three (ok fine, 6) last meals before I am relegated to bananas and applesauce for a while. I will kiss my kids goodnight tomorrow for the last time as the only mom they’ve ever known. In a few days when I see them again, I will of course still be their mother, but I won’t be able to pick them up, they can’t sit on my lap, I can’t even hug them.

These are complicated thoughts and notions for many reasons least not the fact that as I sit here typing, I feel physically fantastic. I feel like the best physical version of myself I have been in ages. Yes, I have nursed three kids, but I’m betting most of you would be aight with these tots at your disposal. Alas, they have to go to funbag heaven which I imagine as a pretty weird/awesome subset of the heaven housing complex.

Here’s the kicker guys. Are you ready for it? My greatest fear at this time. I will walk into the hospital Wednesday morning 100% myself. Sequin pants, irreverent, borderline inappropriate quips, and a body filled with hard earned muscle. I will be put under for surgery as ME and I will wake up as a sick and recovering cancer patient. I will find out if I need chemo, I’ll be on a multitude of medicinal drips, I will have a catheter in my bladder.  In mere hours, I will go from my best self, to a self I don’t know and quite frankly, am not looking forward to meeting.

It’s easy to avoid cancer now. You would never know looking at me that I have it. In about 36 hours, I will be breastless (awaiting reconstruction) and very possibly on the brink of chemotherapy. It’s quite a dramatic shift.

There is it, I’ve said it aloud. I am scared. I want to stay strong, sequin pants me, I do not want to be, brave cancer me. I will do it and I will do it with my usual flair, but I am allowed to mourn these last hours as myself. I teach my childbirth education students to allow themselves to grieve for their newly not pregnant body after delivery, for the loss of their lives as they once knew them. Now I have to take my own advice which we all know is much harder to practice than it is to preach.

My silver lining on this one is sleep. It’s the best I can come up with right now. Those of you who know me well know that I love nothing more than sleeping, especially napping.  A friend once asked me if she should be worried about my mental health as my #1 wish in life would be to lay in bed in and out of consciousness all day. The answer is yes, concern is a realistic response to my quest for unconsciousness, but when you have 3 kids under 7 and 2 insane dogs, being awake can be pretty rough.

So I’m going choose to live in the moment. Not because I have cancer, or am having my breasts amputated this week, but because sleeping is so dope and I am going to get a kick-ass nap. Instead of being afraid of who I will be when I awake, when that mask goes over my nose and mouth and the good stuff gets pumped into my veins, I am going to smile and drift off to my happy place, somewhere far below the surface where cancer doesn’t exist, where Haribo candies are good for you and where Donald Trump crawls back into the all-glass skyscraper from whence he came.

After all this heavy rhetoric, allow me to leave you with this fun lil anecdote… Despite my best efforts, sleeping has been hard for me since diagnosis. I have been employing the assistance of friends such as Clonazepam, Unisom and Tylenol PM. I woke up in what I thought was the middle of the night last night and felt wide awake. I decided my best move was to hit the Tylenol PM as my stupid teeth were hurting anyway. Life Lesson #1: always look at the clock before you ingest 2 500mg Tylenol PMs. Yes, it feels like the middle of the night, but goddamn it, it was was 4:45am. Let’s just say my 9am Yoga Sculpt class was like watching a recent escapee from your local mental institution wielding weights while singing along rather loudly to “Work Bitch” by Britney just to try and keep myself from collapsing like one of those air dancers that flail around frantically in front of car dealerships after its fan has been switched off.

Bet you are smiling now…

#breastcancer #grancer #mastectomy #workbitch #sequinsweatpants

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Shenade Greif says:

    Haven’t read anything in years with THO in it! I remembered what it was after a few minutes. I’ve been thinking of you every day since you announced your surgery. Love to you and family! XOXO Shenade


  2. Anonymous says:

    Ah!! Love you, love your blog, love your sense of humor in all this… Such a freaking awesome inspiration!! I’m here for you babe! Rock those sequined pants and remember I’m here for you no matter what ☺️. Love Laura+Elias+your tiny BF Noah.


  3. Eliza says:

    Good luck, but you won’t need it. Enjoyed this one as I do all your other posts anywhere and anytime. XO


  4. Tim says:

    Grace. What an inspirational and awesome post. We haven’t talked in years and there’s honestly little of value I can share to help given your situation but know that my family and I are In your corner and praying for you. Such a strong mom you are and knowing that, have zero doubt you’ll be on the good side of this before too long. Raising a toast and wishing you the best. – the DaRosas.


  5. AS says:

    Thank you Grace, for sharing this with us. You go on and get rid of that cancer.


  6. Kristin says:

    Grace, I’m thinking about you today and the days ahead. You are an incredibly strong woman and what you are going through is not for the weak of heart. As always you are taking this really horrible and frankly shitty event into something that is inspiring for us all. When we were all dancing together there was a piece where three of us were butterflies…the costumes were brutal and utterly ridiculous but I just remembered it today for some reason. I’m praying that the analogy of transformation and rebirth of a butterfly into something more beautiful, mobile, light and powerful is true for you. Your body and health WILL be back and your beauty will only be better because of it. Keep fighting.


  7. Stephanie says:

    Bananas and applesauce? There are a lot of great earths best purees now …. I was thinking of how they might be good for you as I was packing Ella’s bag for daycare the other day….. Stock up on Amazon …. Good luck. I am sure you will have an amazing support network but please let us know if we can do anything for you!


  8. Anonymous says:

    I am sending you enormous healing energy, love, strength, grit, courage, and big hugs. There are no great words on a night like tonight (though you amazingly seem to find them), but please know that you are being showered with thoughts and prayers as you gear up for tomorrow. Thank you for sharing your journey – my hope is that in doing so you have fortified even more support for you and your family in this wild time.

    Fuck cancer. Be brave. You are incredible.


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