Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just the three of us

A mother's happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.  ~Honoré de Balzac

So today’s post is a slightly controversial one and it is one area I have really tried to not write about as it is so intensely personal and I don’t think everything should be put out there for the wide world to see. But it is weighing on my mind and I am sure other women in my position can echo some of what I will say and maybe it might provide some comfort to them too. I also want to reiterate that this post is also not a means of ostracizes anyone and I want all my friends and family to be just as they have been towards me. I don’t want people to censor their words or actions around me just because I had cancer. Cancer is so prevalent and I am hardly unique in my experience. I also don’t want my experience to cloud anyone else’s happy or joyous moments either. I am happy for the people I care about regardless of what is or has happened in my life because I love you. Nothing will ever change that so anyone who worries after reading this please don’t. You know I love you and want only what is best for all of you.

So when you get cancer young and get the full throttle of treatment, there comes with it some difficult and sometimes permanent side effects. I think this adds to the enormity of the situation when you are a young patient. For example my mother and I – we both faced similar diagnoses and treatment but the impacts were so different given our 35 year age gap. I was 31 years old, a mother to a 1 year old, hoping to have at least another 40 or 50 years of life ahead of me and maybe some other children along the way. Life has just begun for me. My mother,  though still relatively young too, had lived far longer, done so much more, had all the children she had dreamed of and was now watching her grandchildren grow up and could possibly imagine the rest of her life without breasts. But I was facing the prospect of my daughter growing up without me. Of never being able to wear a normal bathing suit, or find the perfect dress or feel completely at ease in front of  a full length mirror without these two giant red scars glaring back at me. It is a lot to take in when we are so young. But then I also think of others…women who are fighting an even harder fight then me right now and it makes me feel silly going on about my own plight. I am not dying right now. No one has told me I have x amount of months to live so in reality I am doing okay. I still have options. But it is the options that have been taken from me that I find the most upsetting. Now that I have a 2.5 year old, all my friends who were pregnant with me now have their second or are in process of it and I feel stuck. It is impossible not to hurt abet when I think of how things would be if none of this had happened. If life had simply evolved naturally. What would be different? I don’t want to seem ungrateful here either as I know many people, dear friends included, who have struggled with fertility problems – I know how lucky I am to have my precious girl and she is literally the world to me. I often sneak in and watch her sleep – her beautiful and peaceful face cuddled up to her monkey and feel so full of a love for her that I never knew existed before. But the thing is – I don’t have any problems in the downstairs department. I have these high functioning organs sitting down there that simply can’t be used and can at any day turn into ticking time bombs. It is frustrating to say the least and makes me sad sometimes. If only deciding to have another child were about timing but now it is about so much more. I want to ensure I am alive to see this child and my own grow up and I don’t want to take any risks that might jeopardize that gift. So we must wait but also know that this may not happen at all for us. It wouldn’t be the end of the world at all and I would give all of that hope up in exchange for a long happy life with my husband and daughter. But I love being a mother so much and for this reason feel slightly robbed of the choice to become one again. Another crap thing cancer can take away from you. My heart goes out to my fellow survivors who perhaps lost the opportunity to even have one child before this beast reared its ugly head. I honestly can’t imagine how I would have felt had I not had my daughter when I was diagnosed so I salute those of you who have weathered that storm and your strength.

 So we will see where the wind takes us – the three of us, maybe one day four? I don’t know and I will never assume to know what is written for me. Life is so unexpected and full of twists and turns – it is important to grab onto the things that are solid and will keep you grounded. For me that is my husband and daughter. Just the three of us.

PS: Bone scan went ok yesterday though it took a few attempts to find a vein. The technician called it an “auto immune response” – apparently like your psyche, your veins can also be traumatised by cancer treatment and actually recoil back in when a needle comes a pricking. Awesome for a person already terrified of needles!! Hope to get results fast as it is pretty much a case of looking at one picture and seeing if anything is remarkable or not. For those not in the know – a bone scan consists of being injected in your vein with radiation which spreads through the bones in your body over a 3 to 4 hour time period after which you lie in a machine which takes a photo from head to toe of your lovely bones. A special camera takes pictures of the tracer in your bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots. This could show a lack of blood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer.  That is your cancer lesson for the day. I hope none of you ever have to use it for real. J

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


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