Christina Ross Just prior to finding out I was pregnant last year, I remember talking (twice) to my former OBGYN about a lump I had found in my right breast and her advising (twice) to just ignore it. So I did. Fast forward a few months ( January 2016) and that’s when I found out I was pregnant with my third child (my first son, Theo). I was 36 years old at the time. Timing is everything and as a result of me being pregnant, I was scheduled to meet with the other OBGYN in the practice so I could be familiar with both doctors prior to delivery. This turned out to be a Godsend. During my first appointment with the other OBGYN (let’s call her Hero Doctor) she immediately embraced my intuition and advised that I get the lump checked out. So I did. On April 18th I went in for a mammogram. I quickly knew something was wrong when I was asked to also get an ultrasound. My fear exploded while I laid on the table holding my belly in silence. The radiologist concluded a biopsy was needed next, so I was scheduled to come back two days later on April 20th for that. On the way to the biopsy appointment I felt my baby boy’s first kick…I will never forget it. Two days later it was my youngest sister’s wedding day, and in the midst of all the traditions I received THE CALL. My world crumbled. An overwhelming blanket of darkness took over and I was terrified at a level deep beyond reason. All I could think about were my daughters, Jovi and Everi, and my unborn son, Theo. To ask how breast cancer impacted my life brings up emotions that feel like a cross between piercing anxiety and feel-good goosebumps. The person I was before diagnosis is very different than the person I am today. The spiritual impact is extensive. My faith “kept the lights on” and God truly made many miracles happen. First, my son saved my life as he showed up at the perfect time for me to be seen by my Hero Doctor. Second, my son was protected in-utero through a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemotherapy, three anaphylactic drug reactions, and he is perfectly healthy today. Amen! God also renewed my relationship with my husband and my mother and resurrected my faith to become a lifeline. From an emotional standpoint, my worries are different now. Like every other mother I know, I still worry about my children non-stop. But for me, I now realize that the small stuff, really is SMALL STUFF. I learned to continually talk to and trust God, smile more and to embrace my children more mindfully. This process has also taught me the importance of self-care, which is never to be confused with being selfish. Let’s just say the physical impact is more of an evolution, much like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Post all my treatments, I am learning to embrace my blonde pixie, bigger boobs (thank you Plastic Surgeon), and I am discovering what confidence, grace and self-love really means. My inspiration came in many forms. My son, daughters and husband…these earth angels were enough bait for me to climb the mountain harder. My mother…she had dealt with a benign brain tumor (unrelated to my cancer) during my childhood and so her strength, support and ability to understand carried me through all of my 16 chemo treatments. My dad…recently diagnosed with ALS and dementia, seeing his ability to focus on me all-the-while faced with an unimaginable struggle made me stronger. Most of all, God…he ever so gracefully inspired me with his words and through his work in those around me; he is helping me become a better version of myself. My advice? Each one of us is a mountain climber in this life. You must take life’s valleys one step at a time…because there will be numerous valleys. Learning to “let go and LET GOD” is a saving grace. Special thanks to My Tribe (you know who you are), my army of phenomenal care providers and Amy Hansen who unselfishly showed me that it IS possible to overcome cancer while pregnant.
Christina feels the music in her playful, yet feminine, all-over lace, lilac mini dress by Lush, $58. Courtesy of Lemons & Lace Boutique, Fort Collins.
Annual Breast Cancer Issue!