Monday, March 3, 2014

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Today is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Not a reason to celebrate, but a reason to bring awareness, to shout and demand for a cure against cancer.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I never knew that there were different types. I thought breast cancer, was just breast cancer. I walked in confident, knowing that there were wonder drugs, chemotherapy treatments, and a long line of women before me that were doing just fine. I would be just fine.

When I was told that I had TNBC, I was ignorant to what that meant.
My oncologist and surgeon gave me a quick, hard lesson.
There is no cure. There is no wonder drug. There is no standard treatment.
It was...”We’ll try this and pray it works. There is not much information on this type of breast cancer.” Matter of fact, at that moment, my wedding anniversary, they were holding the first symposium specifically for TNBC.
I left there with a feeling of hope because I figured that if they were doing this type of research then they must be close to a cure or were about to announce one.

Oh how naive I was. Not only were they nowhere near a cure; there wasn’t any treatment or drug. They still aren’t, there still isn’t. In fact, every half hour, a woman is diagnosed with TNBC. 

I am almost 7 years out from treatment. As I was driving to the store this morning, I thought about what this day is for me.
I wiped tears from my eyes as I thought about my latest problem that my sisters would like me to have checked out soon. I thought about my sisters that just passed.
Then I thought about my family and the things that I have yet to accomplish.

I am not cancer.
I am a mom of 4 beautiful children that bring so much joy to my life, that I am amazed of what they constantly teach me.
I am wife to a man that has supported me through each diagnosis, each challenge, each happy moment, each victory.
I am a daughter to the most supportive parents a person can ask for. Whether holding my hand and standing beside me or lifting me up to help me continue on, they have been there.
 I am a sister to two big brothers that make me laugh and help me forget all of the sadness.
I am a friend and sister to all of the people that are in my life, touched my life, enjoyed my life through all of the ups and downs we shared.
I am Angie...A warrior. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tooting My Own Horn

It has been quite a while since I posted and I've missed it a lot. 

A friend told me that I have to learn how to toot my own horn. When she said this to me I blushed and was speechless, and then just laughed it off. When I returned to my classroom, I read an email from my principal that shared similar thoughts. An earlier email from my assistant principal told me that she feels the same way.

For the past few days, I’ve thought about why it’s so hard for me.

I’m not a person that demands a lot of attention. As an adult, I feel pretty confident in who I have become. I stumbled a lot. I fell on my face a lot. Now, I’m finally feeling a sense of completion for several accomplishments. I finally feel like I am someone that my family can be proud of. Someone that I can be proud of. It’s not because I finally finished my degree. It’s because I finally followed the dream that I had since I was in the second grade. It’s because I finally began to be the person that I have wanted to be.

I didn’t announce my good news to anyone except my family.

A friend announced it on Facebook and responded stating that she “knew I wouldn’t do it.”
I worried that I would hurt someone’s feelings that may have hoped that they would get the honor.
I also thought about people who would hold this announcement against me even though it was out of my hands and was an honor given to me by others.

Ultimately, I did not want to feel as though I was bragging, but then as I began typing this up, I realized how stupid that sounds.

Sooo, here goes...
I was just voted Teacher of the Year for my school!!!!

I will tell you that when my principal shared with me that I was nominated again, I was floored, but I put in my application again and thought nothing more about it.

I was in my classroom taking attendance when the announcement came over the speaker and was so shocked, that I had to fight back the tears. My students cheered, but I was still speechless. My coworker came to give me a hug, but I could only give her a quick hug and then step back.

Let me tell you why:
This is only my second year teaching and I have so much still to learn.
More importantly, I work with the most AMAZING group of people. From the very first day, I have felt a bond with them all and knew that I had been hired at a special place.
I can walk into any room and know that the students are receiving the best.
I can walk up to anyone in that building with any question or concern and they will help me find the answers or point me in the right direction.
I can walk up to anyone and share a laugh, story, or just be my little goofy self and they won’t make me feel judged or small.
I can walk up to anyone and just vent after a hard day and they will listen, support, and kick me in the behind to help me up.
I have never felt out of place, inferior, or alone there.

I’m still working on tooting my own horn. I am not bragging and I don’t believe that I am better than anyone else.
To be nominated was an honor in itself. To actually win is amazing, humbling, surprising.