Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mothers and Daughters

“A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.” ~Author Unknown

I have something very important to talk about today but first things first. Update with me – well I am officially 32 years old now. Does it feel different? Not entirely but I am happy to be one year older, one year wiser and one year riche in life experience. I just got back from the doctor (the normal GP type) and feel a little on edge. I went to see her after having foot pain for months and of course worried perhaps my pain was due to a nasty C monster. It was unlikely I know but as I told her suddenly I feel like every ache and pain is suspect. Nothing is nothing anymore. She was very nice about it all and told me to come whenever I wanted if only to just talk. I do feel like I can talk to her more freely then my oncologist who I suddenly freeze in front of whenever we meet because I am always waiting for him to tell me something bad. When I finally admitted to him on our last meeting how scared and worried I was, he was surprised. He remarked how I always appeared so calm and in control. I think you mean quietly terrified Doctor!! So I told my normal doctor about all my fears surrounding my cancer returning and how everyone is deliberately vague about my long term prognosis. I didn’t want to know percentages about survival rates etc… how would that help me? When I have done everything possible there is to do why torture myself with a mathematical calculation? How would that number change my life? And each person and each cancer is so different - look at Lance Armstrong – odds and percentages meant nothing to him. So why limit myself to obsessing over the result of some formula and letting it define me? If you could know your chances for living or dying – would you want to know? My doctor agreed with my desire to stay in the dark but a part of me wondered if she agreed because she knew it was bad. I know it is so silly and utterly unproductive to think this way but it is also impossible to not given the situation. So here I am sitting a little uneasily wondering what sort of lifeline the fates have woven for me.

So onto happier things. Now for some of you this wont be a huge surprise but for others it might be a shock. If you recall I have intermittently mentioned a certain Captain AC who joined me on my cancer journey following her own diagnosis. I never revealed exactly who she was except that she was incredibly important to me. I felt it was fitting on the eve of her last trip to the C-Spa to give her some of the spotlight because she is also a pink warrior who has fought many a battle. Maybe the title of my blog is a tip off but the true identity of my captain is in fact my mother. Yes my mother and I have been undergoing breast cancer treatment together. What are the odds? She found out three months after me and said she probably wouldn’t have been so vigilant had I not been diagnosed 3 months earlier. Talk about the definition of mother daughter bonding however…in the most morbid way. Suddenly I was the one giving her advice on all things cancer which was strange but also oddly comforting. It was good to be able to share tips and I think it helped her to know that I indeed knew exactly how she was feeling. But this was not how either of us wanted things to be. And one of the hardest parts of this was that neither of us could physically be there for one another. I know when I called my mother at 3am in Vancouver in hysterics to tell her my news, she would come be with me and she was there 6 days later. So when she told me it was so difficult to not be able to do the same thing. I wanted to sit there, hold her hand and tell her everything would be okay. However both of us were landlocked by this cancer beast and it was so frustrating. I do think that had my mother been diagnosed when I hadn’t been through my own Big C journey, it would have been much more difficult to comprehend. But I had been there and knew she had caught it early and she would get through it. Sometimes I wonder if I have actually been able to comprehend that my mother is indeed ill. Both of us are focusing so hard on surviving and getting through our treatments that it is hard to even think about things that aren’t in the immediate present. But despite her own battle, she has remained a rock to me on this tumultuous journey and it is often her who hears my uncensored thoughts and fears. I couldn’t imagine life without her and I can safely say she shares these sentiments about me too. What we have been through has been utterly horrific but in a weird way it was good to have one another. To totally understand the emotional rollercoaster of treatment, the physical demands, the frustrations and the newfound identity of being a cancer patient. She often remarks to me how impressed she is with how I have coped with everything this past year but I would like to remind her that it is she who brought me up and helped shape me into the person I am today. I am a survivor because I learned from the best. Congratulations to you Captain on getting to this major milestone. I love you.

Your daughter,


1 comment:

  1. I have always wanted to know stats and survival rates. The survival rate of my disease is really good, one of the best there is. So when I was ill the first time, I was NEVER anxious about not becoming healthy again. And after getting rid of the cancer, I was NEVER anxoius about relapsing. Then I relapsed. Now my survival rate is not so good. But it doesn't matter. Because I have learned that stats and survival rates apply to groups only. They say absolutely nothing about my outcome. I had every stat going for me, but still relapsed. Now I am determined to get healthy again, although the survivalrate is telling med that most likely I won't. To hell with that. I do believe I will get cancer free again, and that's all that matters. I applaud your decicion not wanting to know about these numbers. They cannot help you anyway, so why bother with them.

    I remember you telling me that your mum was captain AC, but I never figured that she too has cancer. As I said in the other comment: your family is going trough a lot now. Hopefully you'll all come out of it stronger and wiser than ever. I am cheering for you both!!!