Tell Your Friends To Get With My Friends: Kelsey Bucci
At 30 years old the last thing on my radar was breast cancer. I had no family history of the disease and wasn’t one to do regular self-checks. Finding a lump in my left breast seemed like no big deal, until it wasn’t. It took months for me to be diagnosed and throughout this time I kept thinking, I did everything right. I was healthy, active, I ate well, I breastfed four children all for close to a year each. A few Google searches had the statistics on my side.
August 2017 I was diagnosed with Stage IIB Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, and DCIS. Hearing the words “you have breast cancer” is one thing, but how do you tell four young children?
This is something I struggled with throughout the last year of treatment. It was obvious as I lost my hair and went through chemo that I had to tell them something. How much would they understand? My oldest was seven at the time, and my youngest was two. It was hard enough for them to comprehend why they had to go to bed before the sun went down on school nights. But, the sicker I got, and the more surgeries I went through, the more conversations we had to have. I always tried to explain things in a positive manner, one that was not scary, but informative. I also tried to explain things in a way that each one could understand. But it didn’t matter what I said, it was how I acted that had the most impact.
Motherhood comes with an immense amount of guilt as is. As moms we go to bed every night wondering if we made the right decisions, did we tell each child how much we loved them throughout the day. Was it necessary to yell when the frustration was mounting? These were thoughts of mine before cancer. Now I was thinking about the activities I was missing out on because I was so sick. The homework that I couldn’t help with, the bedtime stories I wasn’t reading. The fact that my children were trying to explain to their friends why their mom was bald. I felt like I was ripping away their childhood with each passing treatment.
Cancer changes you, not just physically, but mentally. In a moment’s notice there was a timestamp on my life. There was no going back, there was only pressing forward. I had one very long scream session in the shower where I cussed out my left breast, I let myself feel the full weight of my diagnosis, and then I changed. I made the choice to be happy every day, and I made it a point to show my children that cancer would not overshadow them.
I learned throughout treatment that in order to take care of them I had to take care of myself. Self-love is a process. Rewiring yourself to put your needs first without feeling guilty is hard. Understanding that you can’t be everything to everyone, especially with cancer, is hard. But, if there is one thing I have learned throughout this journey it is that we should spend our days focused on what is most important to us. This doesn’t just go for mothers fighting cancer, this goes for every woman. Focus your energy on the things you can control. I couldn’t control the disease, I couldn’t control how well the treatments worked, but I could control my mind, and I could control my happiness.
Before breast cancer I had all these dreams of what my life would look like. What my days would be filled with when all four of my kids were in school. What life after my husband’s military career would look like? I essentially put my own wants on hold. Breast cancer changed that for me. It made me realize that tomorrow is not guaranteed, for anyone. If I wanted to change my life, to fulfill my dreams, then I had to do it! During my fifth round of chemo therapy I decided to open my own styling and consulting business. It was fun and exciting, and it took my mind off the constant fight for my life. As I finished chemo and moved on to surgery and radiation, I wanted to pursue another dream, this one was to open my own store. I knew I wanted it to focus on everything I had learned in the last year. Health, wellness, and clean beauty. So, I opened Paris Laundry last year! It is a store for women to go and feel safe and confident in the products they are buying and using to put on their bodies, especially for women going through cancer treatments and their bodies are so vulnerable. A place to feel good and beautiful through your own battle! I have gained and lost so much since being diagnosed, but now I can say that I have never felt more me!
Get in touch with Kelsey and her dope vibes here:
Blog-Pardon My French
Podcast- But You Don’t Look Sick