Elizabeth Ross Has Something To Say.

Elizabeth2

FAOysterBarI have a good friend. Her name is Elizabeth Woodring Ross. She is really pretty. That is not all.

A few years ago, our team was invited to a cookout-style Grand Opening of a friendly competitor’s new real estate company. I walked up to the table for a plate, spork, and whatever else. On the other side of that table was Elizabeth Woodring (about to be married to Stephen Ross).

After some months this talented Realtor joined our team, and was wildly successful. Remember this? – Congratulations, Elizabeth!  She ended up posting 37 closings for the calendar year. She raised the bar, and I let everyone know it. That blog post caused quite a stir and it’s mentioned in conversation to this day.

While all that real estate(ness) is great, it’s about to take a back seat. Nervously, Elizabeth started a blog this week. Here’s where I yield to her own words.

“The Definition of a Woman”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I’m going to look like a man

Wow, it officially hit me Saturday when I was carrying two steel closet rods out to the street and dropped one on my big toe, right on the nail – Ouch! I made, what I think was, a normal reaction and dropped to the ground, grabbed my toe and yelled for Stephen to come help. When I got in the house I sat on our kitchen floor and while my husband lovingly wiped the blood and put ice on my toe I blurted out “I’m going to look more like a man soon, no boobs and no toe nail” and then the tears came streaming out my eyes.

I guess let me start at the beginning because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in a blog? Well, my beginning started many years before I was even thought of, when my great-grandmother passed away from breast cancer when my maternal grandfather was only a little kid. Fast forward to almost 26 years ago now when my biological mom passed away from breast cancer as well. Angelina effect, not so much here. Many years before Angelina came forward, my amazing stepmom (who I refer to as my mom) tried to convince me during my sophomore year of college to go through with genetic testing. As a then 20 year old I thought, if for some reason it came back positive, I would be writing my death sentence so I chose not to go through with it. Well, that was until last summer. I informed Stephen that I had been thinking about finally being genetically tested and of course he supported my decision. So, in November 2014 we walked in South Carolina Oncology hand-in-hand to meet with my genetic counselor, Karen, and we learned more about genetics than we ever imagined. I remember sitting there giving blood and the lady told me I was too tense and I needed to twirl… so that’s what I did, I twirled right on out of SC Oncology. I thought that after everything medically Stephen and I have gone through since the beginning of our marriage that maybe my results would come back negative or at least that was my “plan” – we want to start a family soon, my career has taken off, etc – but shows me that God doesn’t care about my “plans” and what I have going on in my life. As I was driving up Gervais Street to my office this past December I got the call from Karen. I remember she asked if I was at the grocery or anywhere like that. I told her no that I was just driving and BAM there it was, I carry the ATM mutation. Numbness…

Everyone knows about the BRCA1 & 2 genetic mutations but there are others that are linked to breast cancer and the mutation I have is in ATM gene and that is what I have (thank goodness I didn’t do the testing my sophomore year as I would not have been tested for this particular mutation as it is so new – God’s plan). After 8 long months of research, meeting with my genetic counselor, my oncologist, my female doctor, my general surgeon and my plastic surgeon I made the most difficult yet easiest decision I have ever made in my life and on August 12th I made the phone call to schedule my prophylactic double mastectomy. There it is for the world to read… I am undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy on September 16, 2015.

In full disclosure, I have never written a blog and a handful of my girlfriends may laugh when I put this out there because my knowledge of the blog world is incredibly slim (I follow one blog and that is Franklin Jones’) but I was at lunch last week with a girlfriend talking about my situation and how I hope to be able to help other women and she mentioned I should write a blog (thanks Kim). I don’t expect anyone to follow this, it’s more of a journal of my life during this process and what I am going through physically and emotionally. I was not an English major so sorry if punctuation isn’t always correct. Also, I am not a doctor, I am a Realtor, and I don’t have any type of medical training. I am not giving medical advice, this is just my journey. I know I am in a good situation – I am overall a healthy 32 year old and that many women have to undergo this surgery daily while also dealing with chemo, radiation, etc so for that I am blessed that I got to take my time and make my decision.   I am at peace with my situation, I may not be able to breast feed my children but I will be able to watch them grow up and for that I am even more thankful.

Last but not least for this post, thank you to my wonderful husband, Stephen. You will never know how your consistent love and support affects me daily and I wouldn’t have had the courage to be so proud of my decision if it wasn’t for you. Our roller coaster ride starts soon but I am grateful every day that I get to go on it with you by my side.”

Over the last couple of years Elizabeth and I have become very close. After all, we’ve faced each other (five feet apart) since we started working together. Most of my friends see Amanda and I together at fun events and lunch pretty much every day, etc, but for about a year or so, it was Elizabeth, Amy, and I that shared a square office together. Shoot, Elizabeth is the one that experienced my reaction from the email from Mary Clyde Culbreath about Kinsey (Umm, that was a day.) As you can imagine, we’ve laughed tons and we’ve shed some tears together.

What I’m getting at is, Elizabeth and I have talked hours upon hours about what’s best for her. She knows all too well about my experience with breast cancer. While it’s not “first hand” experience of course, it’s from a husband’s perspective, which is a hard slap in the face of life from the palm and all five fingers of that first hand.

I called Elizabeth last week for whatever reason and she interrupted me to tell her news. It was like a rope had been cut from restricting my torso. In the long run I knew she would choose this route; I’m just glad she’s not waiting any longer.

To Elizabeth – We are right here. We’re here to be with you, and to cover for you. We’ve ‘got’ you for as long as you need. You’ve become one of my best friends and a treasured part of this real estate team, and we are proud of your decision to take this preventative measure.

To Elizabeth – Your choice of words for the title of your post, and the reason for my first sentence: I get it, and your words are obviously from the heart. That said (and I type this with a stunning wife sleeping in the next room) you are damn sure not going to look like a man. You are gorgeous, and you’re going to still be gorgeous. Remember the last time you saw my Finley a few weeks ago, when I was showing off your new business cards? Well, a few days ago I referenced you and Finley said, “Daddy, do you mean that pretty girl?” She’s done this twice now.

Some readers of this blog may know Elizabeth and understand where I’m coming from. Those who don’t should know she’s not just pretty, but she may have the most pleasant demeanor of anyone I know. We affectionately call her ‘a little girl’ which she totally owns. Sometimes I call her “Ice Cream Cone” or “Lollipop” because of her bright eyed, always happy disposition. Cute and fun nicknames aside, she’s also a stellar Realtor.

I’ve typed way too much for a blog post, but not nearly enough about a good person and her big decision. We’ve had a great time selling real estate together, but given the news she got some months ago about the gene, some of me can’t help but think Elizabeth and I were ‘put together’ for a reason.

We love you, Elizabeth. You are doing the right thing.

Your friend, and teammate…

Franklin

Comments

  1. Best post ever…

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