This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of The MOPS Magazine.
Two years ago, I threw my first farewell party. Not a typical farewell party. I threw a farewell party for a part of my body I was about to lose – my breasts. A “Boob Voyage.”
After months of uncertainty, tests, a diagnosis, doctors appointments, and difficult decisions, the mood was somber and serious at best. Yet, as I forged ahead that was not the tone I wanted to set. Not for myself, my family or my friends.
Life was still good. I was still hopeful. Being diagnosed with cancer didn’t negate either. I still wanted to enjoy life. To be joyful.
Choosing joy in my circumstances began with a celebration, and at the beginning of a difficult journey this was my chance to set the stage for how I intended to fight this battle – with joy. I invited my friends and family into my battle on my terms; conveying we would not dwell on disappointment, difficultly or defeat.
I consulted my doctors, set a date, picked a location, and invited friends and family to a “Boob Voyage.” The invitation made it very clear this was not a pity party. It was a chance to have fun, to say “ta-ta to my tatas,” and to even laugh. Boob humor was encouraged.
From the moment I committed to hosting a “Boob Voyage,” my focus shifted. Planning a fun celebration was just that – FUN. Instead of counting down the days until a major surgery or worrying about the road ahead, I was immersed in party planning. Counting down the days until a celebration. I opted to have the party at a restaurant, so I predetermined what I would order for everyone. I found a tasteful boob cake for the party and offered pink cocktails. I bought a pink dress and pink boa for the party, because why not?! My pink boa even made future appearances at the hospital on not just myself, but guests too, always bringing laughter and smiles. A reminder that I was determined to choose joy whenever I could.
As my breast cancer journey continued, choosing joy took on many different forms. Sometimes it involved celebrations: a party, a family vacation to Disney World – delaying a surgery so our family could enjoy a sense of normalcy that had eluded us for months. Other forms of joy were simpler: savoring moments, being fully present with loved ones, prioritizing time with my children when I was healthy and able-bodied.
The “Boob Voyage” was one of the best parties I have ever thrown. Not just because the details came together. But because I chose joy. I found that you don’t have to be joyful for your circumstances, but you can be joyful in your circumstances. Rally to face the bad and the difficult in life together with laughter, love and above all – JOY.