Great news, Mamas! Shana is out of surgery and in recovery. She underwent a double mastectomy this morning and everything went as well as these things can. S's doctors tested a number of lymph nodes and they believe, with 90-95 percent accuracy, that the cancer has not spread. A full biopsy of the removed tissue is necessary, but what this means is that she will probably (hopefully!) be spared a grueling round of chemotherapy. Please send her your thoughts, prayers and good vibes for a speedy recovery.
Over the past several weeks, it has been difficult to know what to do or say. But as I spoke to S. yesterday afternoon, sounding more blue than I have ever heard her, I was once again (and it's happened a lot) humbled by her ability to be present, patient and positive with her babies no matter what.
Between snipets of conversation about the surgery, ANMJ and other news, I listened to Pax's high pitched howls of distress as Shana narrated his temper tantrum. "Pax is mad," she soothed. "You got frustrated with your train, and now you're mad because it's broken. Let's put it back together." As the howls subsided, I thought about how I might have handled the situation differently–less patiently, probably much less successfully, and definitely with less grace.
We returned to our fractured conversation. Two moms. With tired, unreasonable little ones, digging out from under a laundry pile after long summer vacations. One with a life changing surgery just hours away and all the time in the world to walk her toddler son through his emotions. And me, reminded once again by Shana's example, of how blessed I am and how easy–and wrongheaded–it is to take this precious time for granted.
Thank you, Ms. S., for being the amazing woman, wonderful mom and incredible friend that you are. You are brave and strong and beautiful, and we are all cheering for you as you put this part of your life back together.