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By Contributing Mama Diane LeBleu

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When you reach a certain age ….

* Close ups are no longer a good idea.
* You contemplate Botox and a tummy tuck instead of augmentation and liposuction.
* You no longer attend weddings and baby showers. Weekends are spent at your kid’s soccer tournaments and swim meets.
* Gossip with your girlfriends isn’t about who is on Prozac or whose child is the biter. It is about who has cancer and who is getting divorced.
* Mammograms are recommended annually. Starting at 40 or earlier, if you have a family history of breast cancer.

Celebrating my fortieth birthday this year was an amazing experience. I celebrated with my twin sister, Denise, six years after her battle with breast cancer and two months after mine. We had been planning this trip for the past two years, long before breast cancer invaded my life. So it became not just a birthday party but also a post-treatment celebration. We went to Cozumel, Mexico with our husbands after calling in some big favors to arrange the complicated web of childcare for mine (4) and hers (2).

Growing up, we were close and this experience has brought us closer still. We now have shared memories of friends and fights in high school, sharing an apartment in college, muddling through the first years of parenthood, and most recently, breast cancer.

What was initially a frightening, earth-shattering ordeal became another memory we can recount together – surgery, chemotherapy, and now, hot-flashes. We are both way too young to be dealing with night sweats but the fellowship in misery provides a shared laugh. And when she undergoes a bilateral mastectomy later this year to reduce the chances that the bastard we know as cancer won’t come crashing back into her life, we will have even more to talk about, like who’s got a better rack.

When you reach a certain age, your 11-year-old daughter can recognize more celebrities in People magazine than you.  But at any age, every day should be a celebration – not just the milestones.

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Early detection is key. Regular self-exams and annual mammograms save lives. Don’t get too busy to take care of yourself.

Contributing Mama Diane LeBleu is the mother of 4 children (Danielle, Travis, Sabrina and Caroline) and lives in Austin, Texas. She writes at The Writing Mamas Salon of Austin and Divine Caroline.

10 Responses to a certain age

  • TRACI says:

    You had me roped before I even read that you live in The Motherland. I am also a Austinite, thrice removed, but home is home! Congrats for you and your milestones!

  • christy says:

    Congrats on beating the bastard that is cancer. That sounds like an amazing weekend – and amazing to get help for all your six combined kids!

    Thanks for the reminder to do my self exam, seriously.

  • Gretchen says:

    You and your sister are gorgeous! The close up proves it! And so lucky to have each other.

    You know, I’ve found my forties to be a wonderful time. I’ve suddenly become wise and witty. When did that happen?

  • Chris says:

    Lovely post and very timely for me. I don’t know if you follow Elden of the blog Fat Cyclist, but his wife, Susan, passed away last night. I’m 43 and have not gotten a mammogram since I was 35. It’s time.

    The two of you are beautiful and I’m glad you had a wonderful time together!

  • ErinB says:

    awesome piece as always- congrats on kicking cancers a$$- to you and your sister! Beautiful picture- what a great celebration, may there be many many many more!

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