Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First

20 Jun

Anyone who has ever flown anywhere, knows that before the flight even takes off, the attendants go over the safety check lists and always tell you to secure your own oxygen mask first.

Until recently I never really thought of it as a metaphor for life. There is a reason they tell you this – you can’t help anyone if you are unconscious. It really makes sense, but over the years as a mother, I have used that oxygen mask to hang feed bags from, laundry off of, pretty much everything except for its actual use. I forgot how to take care of myself first.

These past several months my body has been sending signs to slow down, take a deep breath and listen, but I didn’t. I felt the first lump in my breast years ago – shortly after Ladybug was born. I was told it was just a benign breast tumour and it would eventually go away – it was probably just hormonal. When you’re a mama, let alone a mama of a medically complex child who spends her days advocating, making phone calls, booking appointments and driving to all these appointments – it’s easy to forget about or brush off those little lumps and pains that you feel.

Fast forward a few years, and there have been new signs that something isn’t right. I went in for my first mammogram in the fall of 2018. Two more abnormalities were found in my left breast. I had to return twice for further testing. Let me tell you…when you are on your way to Toronto for a concert (that you’re super excited for), and you get a phone call saying they want you back in the next day for more tests – your heart sinks and you automatically think all kinds of scary, sad, thoughts. It sucked!

On the bright side, we had an awesome dinner at a Turkish restaurant, the concert was fantastic, and I got engaged!! So it ended very, very well.

After a meeting with the surgeon last month, it appears from the extra scans, that most of the abnormalities look to be benign (not cancerous), 1 of them needs to be very closely monitored though – so they’re all coming out just to be safe.

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Never again will I ignore those whispers. It took my body screaming at me to finally hear it. Tomorrow, I will be spending my 40th birthday having these lumps removed by a fantastic surgeon.  (the date was purely coincidental)

There is no need to worry or ask how I’m doing right now – I AM ok and WILL BE ok.   This is more of a PSA for all those special needs mamas (or caregivers), to take care of yourselves. Trust me – I know how hard it is, but it is so very important.

As a happy thought/side note, I’m really looking forward to turning 40, and think of this as an “out with the old” type of situation. My next 40 years are going to kick a**! I can celebrate the milestone later – perhaps with some sparkly jewelry or a much needed family vacation. Or both. 😉

Lesson of the day: You only get one body, listen to it, take care of it, and above all else trust your gut! It just might save your life.

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2 Responses to “Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First”

  1. Andrea McCann June 20, 2019 at 6:38 pm #

    You are an amazing mom and are so right about taking time for yourself and ensuring you are healthy for your life.
    Good luck and love for a speedy recovery! Sounds like you have a good team to take care of you and dropping some good hints for pressy’s hope you got the hint Ed!
    Happpy birthday Melissa, here’s to 40 More+ years doing you!! Xx

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